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10:30

How Much Does an eLearning Freelancer Earn?

3 months Ago
I was recently asked by somebody who was thinking about quitting their job, what can they expect to earn as a freelance instructional designer or a freelance elearning developer? What's the typical salary over the first 12 months? Now that question is extremely difficult to answer and obviously there's so many factors involved right through from how much experience you have, to what skills you have, to where in the world you're located, how many people you know in the industry that might be able to refer work your way etc. But saying that "this is a difficult question to answer" isn't really helping anyone! So what I thought I'd do in today's video is lay out exactly what I earned in my first 12 months of freelancing and then dig into that information a little bit. Now as I was doing the research for this video, I took a look at my accounting software and I realised that the first 12 months of my freelance career are a really good example to talk about because they're pretty typical for anyone who's about to start freelancing. And what I mean by that is that I did lots of different types of projects, I worked with in those projects in different roles, some of the projects I did were directly with my own clients and some were subcontracting roles with agencies. So I think what I'm going to share today will be quite good for you to benchmark against if you're thinking of starting to freelance or maybe you've already started and you want to just draw some comparisons. Now before we get started, I thought it'd be useful to give you a bit of context. When I started freelancing I was 34/35 years old. I was living in London which was an advantage because it meant I could attend the on-site meetings with clients and agencies who were potentially going to work with. I have about I think up to about 15 years experience in learning and development and approaching 10 years experience in elearning. And I'm not saying that to try and scare anyone but because I think that the quality of your experience is far more important than the quantity. But it's obviously important to be aware of that if you're starting to compare yourself against me based on what I talked about in this video. It may also be interesting for you to know that I don't have any formal qualifications when it comes to training or learning and development or instructional design. I do have a degree which was in computer-aided design which obviously is design related. But I have no formal qualifications around the type of freelance work that I was doing. So let's get into the detail. I looked at my profit and loss sheet for the year 2015, 2016 which was the first full accounting year as a freelancer. And my business revenue for that year was pretty much bang on £60,000. Now it's important that you recognise that I used the word 'revenue' there, because I think one of the problems when we start freelancing is that we think that all the money that comes in is profit and that's not true because you're going to have costs. So within my first year I had to pay for access to a coworking space, I had to buy a computer, I had to buy software to use on the computer to deliver the projects. I attended some conferences, I bought some subscriptions to training modules and access to things that were going to help me learn how to run a business. So all of that obviously comes out of the revenue that you're taking from your business. But I would say that that first 12 months my costs were relatively low. So all the numbers I'm gonna be talking about today, you can probably, I don't know, shave off 10/20% and that will give you an idea of my costs. And if you're interested in seeing a breakdown of my business cost, so I'll pop a link to the video in the description. So let's start off by taking a look at how I actually earned this money. And the breakdown is quite interesting actually, it's about 50/50 split between money that I earn directly from my own clients versus money that I earned through subcontracting via an agency. And if you're not quite sure about the difference between freelancing and subcontracting and consulting, I'll pop a link to a video where I talked about this in the description. But that money came from 12 different companies. And so essentially six of those were my own clients and six of those were agencies. Now if we take a look at the breakdown of what I was actually doing to earn that money, £39,000 of that came from content development work. So that's almost two-thirds of the £60,000. So that was doing things like content development in PowerPoint, Keynote, Articulate Storyline, Camtasia Studio, I need some video work in VideoScribe as well, but it was that physical hands-on design type work. I earned £12,000 from doing instructional design work, so that was working with SMEs to write storyboards, things like that. I made another £5,000 through consulting style engagements. So that was where I was offering more strategic advice, talking to clients about things like, whether they needed a new learning management system. Or what style of training they should create that was going to achieve their objectives. Or whether they should be creating their training in-house or outsourcing it to an agency. But helping them with that more strategic level type work. And the remaining £4,000 pounds came from doing classroom training where I was actually working with businesses to train their staff on how to use rapid authoring software and the video editing software, things like that. So that they could maybe create the training in-house rather than actually outsourcing it to a third party. Now let's get a bit more granular and talk about the amount I actually earned for each project. And if we start off with the content development work. I did content development both for my own clients and for agencies as well as a subcontractor. Now for my own clients, I worked on a project rate where I charge the client a fixed fee to deliver a piece of training. And when I look back it was pretty terrible, I was really bad at estimating how much time it was gonna take to deliver a project. So I massively undercharged these clients for the work I was doing. So my effective hour or day rate was extremely low. But if I look at a comparison of that against the subcontracting work I did where I was doing both instructional design and content development work. My day rate was anything from £200 pounds I think the lowest earned, £200 a day that is up to £400 a day was probably the highest I earned for that type of work. Now the consulting work that I did was with my own clients. I actually charged the day rate for that because it was very much, it was very difficult to charge a project rate for that. And I was able to charge a lot more for that type of work and I think I charged anything from £600 to £800 a day for that type of work. So obviously that type of work was a lot more lucrative and you're selling your brain essentially rather than your hands and obviously that was a lot more profitable. But I found it really difficult to find a lot of that type of work and actually I made a video all about how I failed in my transition from freelancer to consultant. So I'll pop a link to that video as well in the description. Now you might be interested to know where I actually found this work. And I would say that almost 50% of that work came from referrals. So when I quit my job and started work with myself, I set up a website and I told everyone I knew pretty much. Friends, family, I posted on LinkedIn, I sent cold outreach email to people who I've met at conferences, people who I work with in the past. Just telling them what I was doing and putting a link there to my website and explaining what type of work I was looking for. This was brilliant when I started off because I think this is something you can do in the first 12 months but then once you've done that you pretty much exhaust all your options to do that. So in that time you need to build up other ways of finding work. But to begin with this was a great way for me of finding work. Another technique that I use that brought in probably 25% of the work throughout that 12 months was actually contacting agencies directly. So what I did is I went to a couple of conferences and I took a list of all of the elearning agencies that were exhibiting there because I figured that they were probably big enough to need freelancers to help them and then I contacted them directly. So I did the same thing, I wrote an email, put a link to my website. And I spent some time making sure my website looked good and I had some nice examples there. And this gave agencies the confidence to recruit me and I was able to do a lot of subcontracting work like that. Now most of the client work that I did directly with my own clients, they came through inbound marketing, so they somehow found my website and contacted me directly. And I think I can attribute most of that to the fact that I was writing quite a lot of blog posts and that really helps exposure within Google. So I think using lots of good keywords in your blog's and writing about very relevant topics is a great way for people to find your website and then contact you. But I think that's more of a long game, and I think in the first 12 months you need other strategies to try and help you generate some business. The last part of this that I wanted to talk about was location. And within that first 12 months I would say 80% of the work I did was remote versus 20% of onsite work. Now I've proved to myself that working remotely is completely viable. And actually the last two years as many of you know I've been over here in Bali. So you don't need to be in a capital city or attending onsite meetings with clients or with agencies to be able to make a success of a freelance career. But I think when you're getting started it does really help because you can attend meetings, you can show your face, you can show people that you are who you say you are and you're trustworthy and you dress smartly and you can look people in the eye and talk confidently and build trust, that's the important thing. So I'm not saying that working remotely isn't possible but I think for me having just a little bit of contact with people in that first year was very, very helpful. So there's quite a lot to digest there. I hope that was useful. If you've got any questions. If I missed something that was kind of would have been useful that I include in this video and you'd like to know, please drop your question in the comment section below the video and I'll be more than happy to answer you. This is actually the last video you're gonna see from me here in Bali because next week we're going to be going over to Australia to spend some time with my wife's family. So you know pretty sad to be leaving Bali but pretty excited about the adventures that lie ahead. But I hope that was useful. If you've got any questions as I said, drop them in the comment section below the video. I'll see you in the next episode.
4:16

Is THIS Stopping You From Creating Incredible eLearning?

3 months Ago
If you want to create good quality, effective, engaging online training or e-learning - or whatever you want to call it, you need three key skills. Those are: 1) Instructional design Instructional deisgn is the ability to take a complex subject, break it apart, and be able to deliver it in a kind of digestible manner. You also need to add some kind of learning methodologies to make sure that the information is gonna be absorbed by the people learning from the material you're creating. You probably need to be quite good at teasing information out of subject matter experts, and communicating with those guys to make sure that you're getting the right information to put into the training. And, other things, like you probably need to be good at writing scripts and storyboards, to make sure that the language you're using is conversational and engaging and appropriate for the audience. 2) Graphic design The second skill you need to have is graphic design and the ability to make your content look visually appealing. So that would be understanding colors and the different color pallettes that you might need to use and how those colors work together, typography, fonts, you need to understand how to use different visual effects, animations, transitions, understand things like how to use white space so your content doesn't look overcrowded. And you need to make sure that your content is consistent, so, using the same style of images and the same style of graphics. 3) Development The third skill you need is the more technical development side of things, because you need to actually be able to build what you've designed. So that would include anything from the more basic rapid altering style tools where you're kind of creating that sort of slide layout, but then you go into the more detailed and the more complex programming languages like JavaScript and CSS, and obviously it depends what tool you're using to create your content, but you need a certain level of technical expertise to do that. If you're creating video content, you'll need to have a certain level of video editing expertise. And you're probably going to need to have some expertise on the platform on which your training is gonna be hosted as well, so whether that's a learning management system, or a WordPress website, or YouTube, wherever that training's gonna go, you need to have some understanding of the relationship between the content that you've created and the platform on which your content is gonna sit. Now, if you want to work with somebody who creates online training, or if you're maybe already doing a job that requires you to build e-learning, you need to make a really important decision. You can either focus 100% of your energy on becoming exceptional at one of these disciplines, or you can sacrifice some of that focus and just kind of get good enough at all of those different aspects of creating online training to just get by. So my thoughts on this is that if you really, truly look at yourself in the mirror and you think to yourself "yes, I really wanna create impact the world. I really wanna deliver work that's gonna help people do their job better, I wanna earn more money, I wanna become an expert at what I do. I wanna be able to command higher fees and become viewed upon within the industry as an expert"... if that's 100% what you want to achieve, I don't think there's a decision to be made here - you really have to pick one of those disciplines and double down and become an expert. If you say to yourself "I'm not quite sure, I think I'll just do all three and carry on plodding along in this direction", my gut feeling is that you'll never become an expert at any of those disciplines and the content and the training that you create will never be as good as it could be because you're selling yourself short. So my advice is that you really need to be quite honest with yourself and figure out a) what you're best at and b) what do you truly love doing when it comes to this? And some people might argue, if I just do one of those things, I'm gonna get bored, but actually I think the opposite is true. And if you really get stuck into something, you realize that there's so much to learn, and there's so much opportunity there that actually it becomes more exciting, because as you build up that expertise, you become more and more confident, and you feel like you're delivering more and more value. I hope that was useful, if you've got any questions or comments, as per usual, just drop them in the comment section below the video, and I'll see you in the next episode.
6:55

Why Web Design Is Better Than eLearning

3 months Ago
In the past few years, I've been as proactive as possible about actually learning about how to run a business, because when I quit my job I felt pretty confident about delivering, training, and doing the learning and development side of things - but I didn't have a clue about running a business. All that was completely new to me. So during that time I joined lots of mastermind groups and online communities that were basically designed for business owners and entrepreneurs to network and to try to have each other there as a support network and somewhere that you can talk to people about different questions whether it's marketing, accounting, project management, all the different facets that you need to run a business and having other people to speak to regardless of whether they work in learning and development and e-learning or whether they work in a different field is actually irrelevant because just having somebody else to speak to who is going through the same challenges is really useful. And a lot of the people that I've met on this journey have been web designers. Now with web design obviously, it's a pretty straight forward process. I'm not saying it's easy, but it's a simple process where you design a website, you put it online, and then you can share it with the world, and everyone can see it. Then once you share the URL with somebody, anybody can come along and just check out the website and they can look at the design, test the different functionality. They can try it on different devices to see how that website's optimised for different screen sizes, and you can even do things like actually explore the code and see how it was built, what technology was used. I think because of the fact that all these websites are public, and you can go and explore a website and you're gonna break it down, and test it, and jump on the different pages, and see how it all works, I feel that that really allows other web designers to have some competition and to get some inspiration and it gives them opportunities to see what else is out there and then go away and design their own work based on what they've seen that's already out there on the market. Now if I think about an example that's very relevant to me at the moment, I can liken that experience to YouTube because when I started vlogging, I didn't really have any idea what I was doing. I was just making it up as I went along and over time I hope that my content has improved in quality and I've learned a lot from watching other people make vlogs and watching tutorials about how to do it but also just analysing videos that are out there and in the public domain and getting ideas from people and the way to do it and the way you can improve the quality of the vlog. But the point of today's video is to highlight that we can't do this within e-learning and training design because 99% of the training that we create is behind closed doors, and I completely understand the reason behind that. Obviously if a company's investing in training, they don't want to necessarily make that training available to everybody especially if they've got quite unique strategies and ways of doing things that give them a business advantage. There are obviously reasons why they don't want to share that with the rest of the world. And I also realise that there are quite a few places where you can find examples of e-learning in the public domain. There's different websites and communities where you can go and see examples of people's work and I know that they have e-learning awards and things like that where you can see examples of best practice type e-learning. But that doesn't really negate the fact that there's a fundamental problem there whereby I would imagine 99.9% of training that is created is never seen by anybody apart from the audience who it is designed for. And that means that none of the rest of us who want to improve our skills as learning designers or training designers, we can't have the opportunity to do that unless we, because we can't see that work. I think this is probably one of the reasons that e-learning design, or training design is quite far behind other design industries because there's just not that level of competition because you don't have that much inspiration on a daily basis. Again we'll go back to the web design concept. We all use websites every day and quite often I'll visit the website and I think to myself, wow this is so beautifully designed, and I'll have an explore and I'll be really, really curious about it but I never get that experience when it comes to e-learning unless I actually go and seek it out. Now I don't think that there's a kind of top down solution to this where we can change the way the industry works to enable everyone to see each other's training. I just don't think that's feasible. But I think the best and the most feasible way of us improving this situation is first of all to be aware of it. You know anyone would say the first way to solve a problem is to be aware that there is a problem in the first place. So being aware that there is a problem is a big part of it. I would say secondly, is that it has to come from us as individuals, as training designers. We have to identify that there's an issue there that we are probably not getting exposed to much other e-learning or training design because on a day to day basis we're probably only working with other people in our office and we don't see all the other training that's being created out in the world. So we have to be really proactive and that might involve going to conferences, networking with other training designers, or other people who are working in your field. You could go to meet up groups. You could set up a meet up group if you don't have one in your local area. It doesn't have to be a physical group. It could be maybe like an online community - I'm a member of a few Slack communities and that's been a great way of meeting new people that I'm getting to network with other people. And then you can share designs, share best practices, share tips and techniques, and I think that's the only way that we are collectively as an industry of individual training designers, the only way we're gonna improve our craft and really push the levels of e-learning design forwards is by being very proactive on the individual level. As I've said before, this is really, really hard because this isn't the work you're getting paid for. This isn't what your boss wants you to do. This isn't what your clients want you to do. This is something you have to do from an internal perspective to force yourself to get better. But I think as we all know, in times of financial difficulty, training is always the first thing that gets cut because it seen as a bit of a nice to have and that's probably a whole nother story. But we need to take the responsibility into our own hands and the way that we can prove our value and prove our worth is by becoming better designers, creating better content, and delivering more business value. So I hope that was useful. If you've got any questions or comments, please drop them into the comment section below the video. And I'll see you in the next episode.
6:42

The BEST eLearning

4 months Ago
In the last few weeks I've delivered the biggest project that I've ever worked on since I started working as a freelancer directly with my own clients. That project was to deliver a series of software training videos teaching people using my client's software how to kind of get started with the software but also going on to talk them through kind of more advanced functionality as well. The first part of the project was to deliver these videos in English but the software is being used around the world so the actual software interface can actually be changed into some of the different local languages as well. So the next part of the project will be to translate all the scripts into different languages. We'll then have to re-record with a voiceovers and re-record all the video recordings as well to show the software in those local languages. And I realised quite soon after I started sending the final versions of these videos through to the client that this was the first time I'd worked on my own project with my own clients where I actually felt that the work I was delivering was the best possible work I could've delivered and there was pretty much nothing I could've done to improve the quality of the work that we had created for them. And when I sat down to reflect on this and to really think about what was the reason behind this? Why was this project different to so many of the others that I've worked on where I feel like we've done good work and I've delivered a good level of final output to the client but what was different about this one that made me feel it was so much better and I think the key reason when I think about it, is that the client with whom I'm working on this project, is so much more focused on the final outcome of the training we're creating, rather than the training itself. So to give you some context, the software training videos that we're creating are designed to replace live webinar training that the client is currently delivering to users of the software. And they currently do two or three of these sessions every week. They take a couple of hours and obviously, that's a big kind of burden on the training team. But not only that, they have a customer support team who are also answering lots of questions about how the software work and every time they receive a question, they either have to kind of type up a response or phone the user directly to kind of give them an explanation over the phone, or point them to a help document. And they're spending a lot of time doing this so there's a huge burden there on both the training team and the customer support team. Now because the client is so focused on fixing this problem and avoiding this burden on all these people within the company, they've really focused on delivering a solution that's gonna work and this is in absolute huge contrast to some of the other projects I've worked one where somebody's come to me and said, "Look, we need "a training course." "We've got £10,000 budget." "We need to train our customers on x, y and z, "can you build us something?" And the difference is that if you're focusing on the outcome and solving the problem rather than just a box ticking exercise where you have to create a training course, the client with whom I'm working have been so much more receptive to my requirements. So, you know, I need to have this level of access with your subject matter experts. I'm gonna need this much of your time. I'm gonna need to work with some of your customers to understand their needs. I'm gonna need a certain amount of budget to build what will actually solve the problem. And that's a really, really big difference. And this really takes me back to a video I published a few a weeks ago where I talked about how I failed to transition from being a freelancer into an elearning consultant. And that's actually where the whole idea of Videobites came from because I struggled to make that transition so I'll post a link to that video in the description. But if you're just getting started freelancing or maybe you're working internally, as an elearning developer, or a learning and development consultant within your company, you're not always going to have the opportunity to work on projects where the final output that you deliver, you're really, really proud of and I understand that. Especially if you're freelancing and you're just getting started. But delivering work that you're really, really proud of, is such a great feeling and it's something that actually, that having that experience has really made me think, "You know what? I never, ever want to deliver work that I'm not 100% proud of again in the future." And I think the reason I've been able to do that with this particular project is because I've become much more specialised with what we're doing with Videobites and we are creating software training and we're using video, almost exclusively to deliver that training and when you become specialised and you focus just on one very kind of narrow spectrum, in this case it's training but we're focusing on one type of training and we're focusing on one medium to deliver that. It's very easy to deepen your expertise in that area and become much more proficient at it because you're not focusing on doing anything and everything for anyone and so whilst I feel that we've really started to nail that horizontal specialisation if you like, we're just creating software training and we're just doing it using video, the next phase for me and for Videobites is to create a much more narrow, vertical specialisation. And what I mean by that is at the moment, we're doing this type of training for anyone and everyone but I think we'll become even more successful and I'll be able to deepen the expertise of the business in a much better way if I focus on just one, very narrow audience so currently I'm looking at the SaaS audience (Software as a Service) and I have a couple of clients who fall into that category already but I'm not 100% convinced that's the correct category yet and we'll have to wait and see whether that works out. But I feel pretty confident that by specialising to an even narrower focus, that it's just going to help me deliver even more value to my clients. And then the projects that I'm gonna deliver in the future, I'm gonna be even happier with because I'm just gonna have so much more resources and so much more time and more expertise on these projects that I don't ever see me working on a project where I don't deliver my best work ever again. If you're interested in checking out the project I'm talking about, I'll post a link to that in description. I'd be really interested to hear from you guys whether you're a freelancer, or whether you work for a bigger company, what percentage of the projects that you've delivered - and I'm specifically talking about training courses I guess. Whether that's online training or classroom training or maybe like a blended learning solution, what percentage of those projects that you've delivered, have you been 100% happy with and something you would say, you wouldn't change a thing and you were 100% happy with how that all went. I'd be really interested to hear from you in the comment, the answer to that question but I hope that was useful and I'll see you in the next episode.
4:19

Some People Got ANGRY! But I Learned Something.

4 months Ago
I posted a video a couple of weeks ago which generated a lot of conversation and debate and discussion and actually quite a lot of criticism from some people for not knowing what I'm talking about and not putting any thought into what I was saying. Here's a link to that video: https://youtu.be/3XisHCWYhQo But it was quite a scary thing to do, to put my opinion out there in the public domain. I've obviously made a lot of these videos now but this was the first one that had kind of really sort of provoked people into responding in the way that they did and it was quite a kind of scary thing to do, I kind of put myself into a vulnerable situation and as I was posting the video, I thought to myself, 'Oh, I hope this is taken the right way' 'and people realise that I'm just asking a question' 'and I'm just, you know, I wanna have some discussion' 'around this topic because I think it's really important.' But as I said, it made me feel quite vulnerable and I think the default setting for a human being is, I think it's quite normal, is that we wanna be liked, we wanna be popular, we don't wanna be kind of outside of the group mentality and we wanna, you know, everyone to agree with maybe what we're saying and so posting something that maybe goes against that, it was quite a, probably quite a big deal for me actually if I'm being honest with you. But what I realised about this particular video, more than any others that I've posted, is that I learnt more from it. And when I think about why I learnt more from this experience than from any of the other videos that I've posted and the subsequent discussions that I've had around those other videos, I think the reason is because this was really pushing me to the edge of my comfort zone and it was talking about something that I didn't necessarily know the answer to but it was something that I felt quite passionately about and I kind of put a lot of thought into it but that I realised that there was probably a lot of people who know a lot more than me out there who had different opinions and maybe we could get involved in some dialogue which would maybe consolidate my opinion but maybe also actually give a different perspective on the argument and have a different way of looking at it and maybe even change my mind eventually. That was really interesting for me because I could quite easily sit here and post videos every day about things that I know for sure I've been working in the field of learning and development and elearning and training for kind of nearly 20 years now so I feel like I know a lot of stuff and I could quite easily sit here and kind of regurgitate stuff that I know is true. And I'm sure I've done that in some of my previous videos and you know what, I probably will do that again in the future because I think some of the things that I know hopefully will be helpful to other people. But this single experience taught me more because I didn't necessarily know the answer and then I have a lot of conversation and discussion around the topic and it was that conversation and discussion that helped me learn more and helped me see things from a different perspective and I wouldn't have got that if I'd just posted the video saying, 'Look, this is black and this is white.' No one's gonna have anything to talk about because they're like yep, yeah okay, you're right. So whilst it's quite scary to put yourself into a vulnerable position and to say, look, this is what I think, this is my thought process, I don't know if I'm right, and then have that conversation around that and open yourself up to criticism essentially. It's also very empowering because coming off the back of that situation two weeks later I feel like I learnt a lot, I feel like I've grown as a person and had I not had that conversation I wouldn't have learnt and I wouldn't have grown as much as I have done. So that was kind of a long roundabout way of saying if you've been watching my videos, you can expect more of the same. I'm planning to kind of keep pushing myself and asking questions that maybe I don't know the answer to, talking about topics that may be a little bit controversial and may be not the sort of things you see regularly on social media and on these different platforms. So I guess if you haven't subscribed already, please consider doing so. If you've got any comments about what I talked about today, please drop them in the comment section below the video and I'll see you in the next episode.
2:57

Just Discovered Something Unbelievable

4 months Ago
I discovered something this morning that came as an absolute shock to me. And here it is: when you click your fingers, the sound you hear is not the sound of the friction between the two fingers that you clicked. It's the sound of the finger hitting against the palm of your hand. I know! I couldn't believe it either! Now, you're either sitting there thinking "yeah, what's the big deal Ant, I already knew about that." Or if you're like me, you're probably about to pause the video and spend the next 20 minutes clicking your fingers to see if I'm talking crap. Not only did I spend 20 minutes practicing to see if I could hear where the click was coming from. I asked some of my mates on a WhatsApp chat to find out whether they actually thought it was true, or find out if they already knew about this. I also went away and did some research on the Internet. And, unless I'm part of some elaborate, delayed April fools joke, it turns out it is true! Now I know that tying this back to L&D is a little bit of a tenuous link, but I wanted to mention it because I thought it was really interesting. We hear facts and information every day, whether it's in conversation with our friends, through e-mails, through listening to podcasts, through reading blogs, watching videos. We're constantly getting bombarded with information. I would guess, I don't have any scientific data, but I would guess that within a year or two 99% of that data has kinda tumbled back out of our brains and we can't remember it. Now I would put money on it if you ask me about this finger clicking controversy in 10 years time I will remember this as a fact that is kinda embedded in my head. And the reason why I'll remember this is not because I read that tweet, but it's because I went away and I got involved in the activity of clicking my fingers for half an hour to see if it was true, having a conversation about it on WhatsApp and then doing some of my own research on the Internet. Now I think this is interesting because I think the idea that many of us have and maybe less so in the learning and development community, but the standard default assumption of training is it's just that passive, one-directional information dump isn't it? And in this situation I talked about today, that would be me reading the tweet. But if the content that we're delivering is kinda surrounded by more than just the content, so in my situation today it was an activity, clicking my fingers, it was having some conversation with some other people, and it was some additional research on my own time. That learning experience is probably gonna have a much bigger impact because it was surrounded by these different modalities as well. Bit of a silly video today, but I'd love to hear back from you if you also weren't aware of this shocking news! Please let me know in the comment section below the video and I'll see you in the next episode.
8:25

I Lost My Job for Asking a Question

4 months Ago
In today's episode, I'm going tell you the story about how I got fired for asking a question. Back in 2010, I took a job as the training manager of a large web company. And one of the reasons for this was that I had got to a point in my career where I felt that like my professional development had stagnated. I'd been doing classroom training for seven or eight years, I had dipped my toe in the water with elearning design, but couldn't really see a career for me immediately there. So I thought the natural progression would be to manage the training function at a large company. The company I worked for had about 500 employees, and what they'd recently done was started an initiative to bring together the senior management team and the shop floor staff, essentially who consisted of 300/400 much younger individuals who were probably in their first or second jobs within their career. Some of them were school leavers, so there were a lot of 17, 18, 19 year olds. The company had noticed that there was a big gap between the senior management team and the people who were driving the company and then the younger guys who were actually doing all the work. And they felt there was a disconnect - and so what they'd done was set up an initiative where they would have these lunch time sessions where they'd have this open ended question and answer session where they're have the senior management team sat on one side of the room, and then all the other staff would be invited in and they could ask questions in this open forum. So I attended a couple of these sessions and what I noticed was happening is that quite often, the people who were attending the sessions weren't being that proactive in asking questions. And I think sometimes it'd be maybe that their supervisor had suggested that they should go to the sessions and show their faces almost. But when they were in that environment, and there was a desk full of senior managers who were very impressive, ambitious, very technical people and then they were sat on one side of the room and then these other guys who were sitting amongst their friends, they were much younger probably less confident, they just didn't feel confident to ask questions because of the nature of the environment. I remember one particular session where the CEO, who is a very technical, he was a German guy, spoke very quickly and very passionately about technology, but wasn't always the easiest to understand. Not just because of the fact that he was German, but also because he spoke so quickly. And he was so intelligent and he knew so much that he didn't appreciate that the level of other people was maybe a little bit less. And he wasn't the best at talking plain English. And so one particular session, this guy was rattling on about how the future of the business was in the cloud and talking all about cloud computing and how all of our products and services need to be aligned to the cloud - and whilst I had a pretty good grasp of what the cloud was, I mean this was almost 10 years ago, so I'd only recently learned about it but I kind of understood the concept. I could see that there were some people in the room that maybe didn't know what it was, and also, they weren't asking any questions so I knew that if they're not asking questions, there's no way they understand everything. So I thought to myself, maybe this situation requires somebody like me to ask some questions, and then maybe other people in the room will feel more confident in asking questions as well. So at one point, I put my hand up and I said, "Can you just explain in a little bit more detail and break it down a little bit for us what exactly do you mean by the cloud and cloud computing?" Now the guy didn't even hesitate. He just replied to the question and he kind of broke it down a little bit and I remember thinking he did an okay job of explaining it but I wasn't confident that everybody understood what it was from his explanation. But I'd hoped that by asking the question, not only had it helped other people in the room learn - because I'm the training manager - my job is to help people learn. But I hoped that by asking that question, other people in the room would feel more comfortable in asking some questions as well. Now I didn't think anything more about this until about two weeks later. I was called in to speak to the human resources manager and told that my services at the company were no longer required. I was to finish there till the end of the month and that would be the end of my time at the company. And I'd only been there for six months. So for somebody who's as proud and competitive and stubborn as I am, this cameabsolutely knocked the stuffing out of me and when I look back at my life this is probably one of the most significant periods of my life and I did a lot of soul searching and it was a really traumatic experience for me. What made it worse was that it was a real shock, because it was only a few weeks before that I had an appraisal and I was told that I was doing really well and the projects that I'd initiated were really being looked upon positively and they thought I was doing a good job. So to be suddenly told that you're no longer required when you think you're doing a good job is pretty horrible. Anyway, I will probably never know exactly why I got fired and I'm sure if you were to ask the guy who fired me, he would say that there was a whole number of reasons, and it didn't just come down to one thing. But I have a hunch that because I asked that question, the guy who was answering the questions thought that I didn't know the answer. And he probably looked at me and thought, well hang on a minute, the future of our business is in the cloud, this is our training manager. This is the guy who is teaching our staff how to use technology and how to essentially training them on all different aspects of things they need to know to do the job. If this guy doesn't know what the cloud is, is he the right man for the job? Now I'm sure there are other factors involved, like I was incompetent or I wasn't up to the task. And when I look back at the situation, I often ask myself, should I have handled that situation any differently, I could have quite easily not asked the question, and probably slipped under the radar and that guy would've been none the wiser that I didn't know what cloud computing was. But I feel really proud of the fact that I did that and I almost feel now like I almost sacrificed myself for the cause. And I think the whole point of me talking about this today is that I think as learning development professionals, trainers, instructional designers, all these roles that we're doing, quite often, we are sometimes sacrificing ourselves. We need to sometimes try new initiatives, we need to try to do things differently if we think that the way it's currently happening isn't working. And quite often, by putting ourselves on that pedestal, we're putting ourselves in a position where we can be ridiculed, or laughed at, or thought of as stupid, or, worst case scenario, fired from your job. But, I feel like that's maybe the commitment that I've made to this industry and to this career, and again, I look back on this now, and would I have done anything differently? No, I wouldn't, I can look at myself in the mirror now and I can think to myself, you know what? I did that for the right reasons. Now I'm not claiming to be any type of hero (but if you were to call me a hero, that would be totally fine). But I think what I'm saying is that working in this industry can be a pretty thankless task. You're not on your own; there are other people out there who are facing the same difficulties on a day to day basis. And every time you feel like you're just banging your head against the brick wall and you're not making any progress, just think of those times when you've actually implemented some training or you've delivered a new course, or you've stood in front of a classroom and taught somebody something. And they've had that light bulb moment where they've understood something that they didn't previously understand. Those are the reasons that I do this job and I'm sure those are the reasons that you're doing this job as well. And just remember those and focus on those because that's the most important thing, isn't it? I'd love to hear back from you, if you've got any stories about where you've sacrificed yourself for the cause. If you have, just drop them in the comment section below the video, and I'll see you in the next episode.
1:52

I Am NOT a Learner.

4 months Ago
I got to work this morning, and realised that the battery in my microphone had died - so I've spent the last three hours riding around Bali, looking for a replacement battery, and I've failed miserably. And now I've got to go home and spend the afternoon with my family, so that's why I'm filming this episode, sitting on a wall next to a field, trying to speak quickly in between the sound of motorbikes going past! But what I wanted to talk about today, was something that I saw posted on LinkedIn last week, and that was that as a community, instructional designers, learning designers, training designers etc. we often use the word "learners", and we talk about people who are experiencing the training we're delivering as ‘learners’. As if they're another race, this other group of people, totally different to us. And I'm as guilty as the next person for this - if you listen to any of my videos, I mix up so much different terminology and I use the word ‘learners’ a lot. I think the thing that I took away from this conversation was actually that we shouldn't talk about learners. We should talk about people. We should talk about human beings. Because the people we're designing the training for, they're just like you and me, and if we can maybe talk about people or humans or, you know men or women, or boys and girls, cats and dogs, whatever it is we're gonna talk about, we can maybe personalise things little bit, and, and realise that we're trying to affect individual people, who are just like us, and we're not trying to, teach groups of people that don't have faces, and then we're really trying to affect individual people, on the kind of really human level. So that's it for today. I'm a perfectionist, and I thought, you know what, I need to keep the consistency of these videos going. Every time I have a bad day, and I don't have time to do a fancy video with music and effects, I need to get over myself, and I need to start posting more consistently, so I hope you enjoyed that, and I'll see you in the next episode.
3:25

Why I Blame Articulate for Crap eLearning

4 months Ago
Do you remember when you were sat in that really boring training session, and at the end, the trainer wandered over to you, and he handed you all 83 of his PowerPoint slides, printed out, individually, on A4 sheets of paper? And of course he didn't know how to print front and back, so it was one piece of paper per slide. So if there were 15 people in your training session, and there were 83 slides, that would be 1,245 pieces of paper per training session. Did you ever go back to your desk and work your way through those slides? I mean, what an incredible waste of paper! Now, if we fast-forward 20 years, we have a new way of creating equally shit content. And I blame this button (Import to PowerPoint). In one click, you can import all 83 of your PowerPoint slides, and create an "e-learning course". Now admittedly we're not wasting trees anymore, but we're wasting people's time. Now I know people are gonna argue and say, well you can't blame the tools for this bad content. And I've had this discussion before, and whilst I completely see their point, I kinda disagree, because I think the software vendors and the people who are creating these tools that allow us to create content so quickly and so easily, have a responsibility to ensure their tools are used correctly. Now I'm not gonna suggest I have the answers to these problems, but what I wanted to do today was give a couple of examples where software vendors are using their software both irresponsibly and responsibly, and see if we can draw any comparisons from those. So an example of a software vendor who is using their software irresponsibly is Facebook. And Facebook are definitely not the only guilty parties when it comes to this, but if we think about how Facebook. When you download their app, the default functionality is to notify you about every single little thing. So, every time somebody likes one of my comments, or comments on one of my photos, or friend requests me, I'm gonna get a notification badge on my phone, or a beep, or a something to notify me and distract me from what I'm doing. Now I think this is hugely irresponsible, and I think that the default should be that all these notifications are turned off, and actually we have to go away and switch them on if we wanna be notified. People like my mum who don't really know how to use technology very well are gonna innocently download the Facebook app, and before they know it, their whole life is gonna be consumed by annoying notifications that are beeping, and pinging, and buzzing. Now an example of a company who are using technology and their software responsibly, the one I thought of was Waze, who provide like in-car GPS navigation, and if you use their app as a sat-nav to guide you to your destination. If you're driving your car, and you start using the app, it will actually give you a warning and say to you, well hang on a minute, you should pull over, 'cause it can recognise that your car is moving, and it'll say make sure you're not the driver, make sure you pull over, and that you can use the sat-nav, but don't use it whilst you're driving. So this is an example of a piece of software where the software is being proactive in guiding me on how to use it correctly. So as I said before, I don't have all the answers to this, but I think it's important to discuss this, and I think it's something that we should think about as a community. I'd be really interested to hear your comments, so please drop 'em in the comments section below the video, and I'll see you in the next episode.
2:47

How NOT To Use Whiteboard Videos for Training

4 months Ago
I really like whiteboard, animated, explainer style videos, and I think they're really great for describing a process or animating a flow diagram. I always think about them in the same way that I used to think about using a flip chart when I used to do classroom training, where if you wanted to explain a concept but you wanted to control how quickly each element of that concept was revealed, you could do so in a very methodical way and you're really controlling the learning experience for the person who's watching the training. And with tools like VideoScribe, it's made creating this type of whiteboard explainer videos so much quicker and easier and cheaper as well. You don't need any video editing skills. You just drag and drop images and shapes and text onto your timeline and away you go. But here's the problem. It's become so quick and so easy and so cheap to create this type of content that there's a real temptation to overuse these tools to create training materials or training videos, and we're just gonna bore the learners if we are pumping out, well, I was gonna say hours, but actually, we're talking about just a few minutes of this same type of content. Since I started focusing primarily on using video for training, I've just seen so many bad examples of people who overuse this tool. And literally, it can be 30 seconds of using the same tool and the person watching is just gonna get bored of watching it. So, my advice to you is if you're gonna create these whiteboard-style explainer videos, especially for delivering training, keep the snippets short. I would recommend a maximum of sort of 15, 20, or 30 seconds to use that whiteboard-style animation. And if possible, try and combine that style of content with a different style of video content, which is really gonna keep the person watching very engaged. A great example would be what I'm doing here. Film yourself talking in front of the camera and then intersperse that with your whiteboard-style explainer videos as you go through the training. And that's really gonna bring a lot of value to the person watching. It's gonna keep their eyes engaged. It's gonna keep them entertained. And I probably would suggest the best thing to do is go and try it. Go on to YouTube, find a VideoScribe video that's maybe over three or four minutes long and see at what point you kind of start getting bored of watching that style of video. If you wanna see an example of a training video created with VideoScribe that's over a minute long, that's done really, really well, I'll pop a link at the top of the video and you can go and check that out. I hope that was useful. If you've got any questions, pop them in the comment section below the video and I'll see you in the next episode.
7:44

Is THIS the Best Place to Find Freelance eLearning Jobs?

4 months Ago
Now, I've talked a lot since I've started this vlog about different problems that I've had to overcome since I started my career as a freelancer. And that's been anything from dealing with client problems, dealing with feelings of self doubt, managing my work-life balance so that I can get the balance right there. But I think I can safely say that the one thing's that's been probably the biggest challenge and I'd say definitely the thing that's given me the most sleepless nights has been being able to find new projects and new clients. Now, about three or four years ago and actually it was around the time that I actually started freelancing, I stumbled across a website called Jam-Pan. Jam-Pan is a freelancer marketplace very similar to websites like Upwork except the crucial difference is that Jam-Pan is focused specifically on digital learning and learning and development style projects. Now, for somebody like me who didn't have any established relationships with e-learning agencies or I didn't have my own roster of clients, finding a website where I could find jobs or projects that were tailored to my skill set and all surrounding the digital learning field was extremely exciting. I thought, “this is it! This is where I'm gonna find most of my work!” So I went through the process - uploaded my profile, added some examples from my portfolio, filled in the application and even actually went as far as applying for a couple of jobs. But I didn't hear anything back and after a little while I found some of my own clients and I started working on a couple of projects with a couple of agencies and I forgot about the Jam-Pan platform and stopped using it. Anyway, earlier this year I was wandering around the Learning Technologies Conference in London and I wandered past the Jam-Pan booth and I got chatting to a guy called Dave Wood who is actually the driving force behind Jam-Pan. And he gave me a demo of the platform and as I said I hadn't looked at this for probably 18 months or so and I was really, really impressed. Not only with the new functionality and the new platform that they developed, but also the volume of projects that there was now listed on there. Because when I first looked at it three or four years ago there wasn't many projects on there. So it was quite slim pickings when it came to choosing which projects to apply for. And so after looking at the platform at Learning Technologies and also doing a bit of research since I came back, I thought what I'd do in today's episode is just share some of the bits and pieces that you might be interested to know about before you go ahead and actually register on the website. So the first thing I want to mention is that it seems to me that the caliber of clients and the type of project that you can find on Jam-Pan is much better than the type of project you'll probably be able to find on your own. As an average freelancer, it's quite difficult to work directly with big brands unless you're more established and you've spent a lot of time building a portfolio and nurturing different relationships. And I think what Jam-Pan offers is a chance, like a foot in the door if you like and the opportunity to work with some of these bigger brands and these bigger projects and obviously you can do that when you work as a subcontractor for an agency. But the problem with that is that quite often the work that you're doing is the property of the agency. So you can't put it on your website, you can't show it off as part of your portfolio. But working with some of these bigger brands through the Jam-Pan platform means that it's your work. It's your direct relationship with that client. I see that as being a really exciting opportunity to fast forward your relationship with some of these bigger clients. One of the other advantages that struck me about working for a platform like Jam-Pan is the financial relationship that Jam-Pan has with the client, because usually especially when you're starting out as a freelancer, you'll be working directly with clients and 9 times out of 10, they'll be paying you most if not all of the money that you're owed after you've delivered the work which obviously there's certain amount of risk there because if they don't pay you for some reason, you've done all the work and you haven't got paid. And so the nice thing about Jam-Pan is that they actually have the financial relationship with the client and it's Jam-Pan that actually pays you the money for doing the work. Which means that your risk of not getting paid is drastically reduced as long as you've obviously delivered on time and you've delivered the work to the standard that was required of you. They also have a feature called accelerated payment which looks pretty cool because quite often again if you're working directly with a client and you get paid after you've delivered the work, sometimes these big companies they can take months to pay you. So you might be waiting 30 days, 60 days, 90 days to actually receive the money into your account. And obviously when you're getting started, that's a huge problem if you need the cash flow to pay for your next month's work. So I don't know the details of this but it looks to me like the accelerated payment feature allows you to receive the funds pretty much on the day that you've delivered the work. Now, one of the reasons that I think I wasn't successful when I applied for some of the roles on Jam-Pan three, four years ago was that my profile was extremely vague and I was pitching myself as a bit of a ‘jack of all trades’ if you like because essentially I felt confident that I could do instructional design work, I could do the e-learning development work, I could do the graphic design, I could do the creating videos, I could do LMS implementation. I felt confident that I could do all those things and my profile reflected that. But I think from a client's perspective, if they are looking for somebody with a specific skill set and they look at two people and one of those is me who says he can do everything and the next person is somebody who says he focuses specifically on the types of projects that that client's looking for, I think that person is much more likely to get the project. And so what Jam-Pan have introduced is the ability to add I think four or five different profiles for each freelancer. So what that means is I can create one profile as an instructional designer if that's one of my skills and I can maybe put some examples of work that I've done in that type of project. I could create another profile where I talk about how I'm skilled at creating videos and my background and my experiences in that type of field. I could create another one for something else and so on and so forth. But the concept of that is that when I apply for a particular role or a particular project, I can choose which one of these profile most closely matches the job I'm going for and I think I'm much more likely to win that project because the person who's reviewing the applicants will probably look at mine and think “wow, this guy has got specific skills that are relevant to the project”. One of the other cool things about Jam-Pan that I've seen is that they seem to be negotiating deals with some of the different software vendors. So if you register as a freelancer on the website, it seems to me like they will provide you with a subscription or maybe just a discounted subscription to some of the rapid authoring tools that you might need to fulfill a project. Anyway, as I said at the beginning, I haven't actually worked on any projects through the Jam-Pan platform but it just seems to me like it's gaining momentum. The projects seem to be getting better on there. There seems to be more opportunities in there with regards to other deals that I talked about and the support you get from the platform and I just think it's definitely something to keep your eye on. Anyway, I hope that was useful. If you've got any comments, please leave them in the comment section below the video and I'll see you in the next episode.
0:14

What Does it Cost to be a Freelancer?

4 months Ago
Before I started freelancing, I did a lot of reading about the earning potential for a freelancer, but what I didn't see much of was, information about how much it actually costs to be a freelancer. So what I'm gonna today is itemise every single outgoing that goes out of my business bank account each month. Before we get started, I should mention that when I started my business, I was very intentional about setting up a business bank account that was completely separate to my personal bank account, because I was aware that blurring the lines of those two wasn't a good thing to do, so I've always kept those two sides of my finances very separate. Now, to give you some context for those of you who don't know me, I am a solo freelancer, or business owner. Technically I'm a business owner, because I've set up a limited company, but I think what I'm gonna be talking about today is very relevant if you're a sole trader as well. But I don't have any employees, I don't have any fixed costs like an office that has to house a team of people, and so everything I'm talking about today is going to be very relevant to you if you're a solopreneur or an individual freelancer. Salary So, let's get down to the detail. I'm gonna start off by itemising all of my outgoings, and we'll start off with the most expensive. So the most expensive thing I have to pay for each month is my own salary. Now, I'm sure some of you might be thinking to yourselves, "Well, if you're the business owner, and you're the only person who works for your business, surely your salary is just everything that's left over after you've paid all the bills." Technically, I guess this is true, but what I did when I started my business is, I decided that I wanted to be quite intentional and pay myself a set salary every month. So that I knew whatever happened on the same day of the month, I would have the same amount of money coming in each month. From a personal perspective, now that I have a family, and currently, I'm the sole breadwinner, having that was really important to me so I could have a predictable income, and I could plan ahead with my personal finances as well. Obviously, the only caveat of that is if you don't bring in enough work to be able to pay that salary, then obviously you can't take that much at the end of each month. And that's happened to me a couple of times, so I'll hold my hand up and admit to that. I don’t think there's anything to be embarrassed about! But one thing I am a little bit embarrassed about is that when I decided upon what my salary should be, the way I decided upon that was I took the salary that I was earning at the company I used to work at, and I added on about 10%, and I said to myself, "Right, I'm not gonna pay myself any less than this amount every month." And it was a kind of a middle finger up at my old company! Now, having said all that about having a fixed salary, my salary has fluctuated a little bit over the past three years for a couple of reasons. But the main reason is that my cost of living is now lower because I'm now out in Indonesia, where there's just a lower cost of living in general. So, I'd much rather have more money in my business account, and say to myself: "Well, I've actually got 12 or 18 months runway and my salary is covered for that next 12 to 18 months” than to pay myself a higher salary each month but have less in the business account. I think that's just a state of mind, and for me, it makes me feel more comfortable to know that I've got my salary covered over a longer period of time, but I'm sure there's arguments to both sides of that. Rent Now, my next biggest monthly expense is to pay for my studio, and I think a lot of freelancers are attracted to the idea of working for themselves because that gives them the opportunity to work from home. In my case, I tried that for about 12 months, and I felt like I was quite productive. But what I felt was happening was that the boundaries between my work and my personal life was being very blurred, and what was happening, this was back before I had a baby. But I was getting up in the morning, and I was doing a day's work, and my wife would come home from work kind of six o'clock in the evening, and because she'd been out at work all day, she was tired, she didn't really wanna do anything in the evening, she just was happy being inside. And I was full of energy, and I wanted to go and do stuff because I'd been stuck in the house all day! But because I wanted to spend time with my wife, I would end up staying at home as well. So from Monday to Friday, I was just stuck in the flat all day long, and I found over time that this had a very detrimental impact on my state of mind. So, when we found out we were pregnant, we decided that I was gonna try and find somewhere to work outside of the home environment, and I've actually never looked back. And ever since that moment in time, I've always been working out of an external studio, an external office. The cost for this is a lot more in London than it is over here in Bali, but I feel pretty confident when I say that I would probably never go back to working from home again. Accounting Next up, I have to pay for my accountant and my accounting software. I'm not the most financially mathematically gifted person. I think by default I'm more of a creative type and so when I, again when I started my business I decided that paying somebody to do my accountancy stuff was far more sensible than trying to figure all that myself, it was just gonna use up so much of my energy and my brainpower. And so, I've actually had three accountants now. This third one has been the best so far but I pay them on a monthly basis, and that covers my corporation tax return, my self-assessment tax return, my income tax, my VAT returns. I also use the accountant's address for all my business post as well which makes the administrative side of things a lot easier. I don't have to deal with letters from HMRC. My accountant deals with all that and I don't have to worry about it. I also use a brilliant online accounting app called FreeAgent which pretty much runs the show and my accountant works directly with this software, but it gives me the opportunity to log in wherever I am. I can see my invoices, I can see my banking, I can see my expenses, all of those things are in one place and it's extremely easy to use. And then in addition to that, I use something called Receipt Bank which lets me take photos of my receipts with my iPhone and then the app processes the receipt and puts it straight into FreeAgent. So I don't have to type in what the expense was for, how much it was, the date, all that stuff that I used to have to do manually, it's all taken care of me with this app. And so I really feel like I get a lot of value out of the money I spend on accounting. Coaching Next up, I pay a monthly fee for business coaching. Now, this is something that I've kind of fallen in and out of over the past few years and it's not something that I've just done regularly for kind of three or four years. But it's something I feel like I get a lot of value out of and my current mentoring program allows us to have access to a Slack group, so we have access to a business coach. I'll put a link to Jonathan's website in the description below the video, but I've been really impressed with the mentoring service so far. So we have access to the Slack group and then we also have bi-weekly calls where we can ask questions and get advice from other entrepreneurs and other people running their businesses. And it's just somewhere that I can go for a bit of help when I get stuck. So next up, we have my web hosting payments. So this consists of several Squarespace websites. I have some old web hosting where I host some e-learning projects and I also pay for G-Suite who manage my email. We're getting through the boring stuff now so bear with me and it'll get more interesting! Insurance Next up, I pay for public liability insurance which covers my business for a number of different things. I won't go into the details now, mainly because I don't understand most of it but I've been advised that this is a good thing to have. The other thing about my insurance that I'm really happy about is that it covers me for my equipment when I'm traveling. So my camera, my computers, my screens, my microphones, all the different things that I use are fully covered in transit if I'm travelling around the world or if I'm in a sort of a remote office space like this or a coffee shop. Everything is covered for theft and damage which is really important when you're obviously working for yourself and you pay for all your own equipment, it's really important to have that cover. Software Next we have all the different software tools that I use and most of these are subscription-based so I pay for them on a monthly basis, which kind of makes it easier to budget. But I thought that rather than itemising these all individually, I break them down into four categories. So the first category are the different marketing software tools that I use. So the most expensive one I use is called Drip, and that is my email marketing automation software. And you can check this out by going to the video by its website but what this allows me to do is capture email addresses on the website. So when people read one of my blog posts or visit the website, they can put in their email address if they want something educational. And Drip allows me to write a series of pre-planned emails that I can then drip feed to that person over a series of time which means that you don't have to write individual emails every time somebody visits your website. And I don't feel like I've fully harnessed the power of email automation yet. I've written a couple of email courses which I've been really pleased with, but I'm really excited about what the opportunity of email marketing offers, and this is something I'm definitely looking to get more value out of in the future. Another app I use is called RecurPost which allows me to schedule social media posts and I use this primarily for Twitter. But rather than sort of remembering to tweet several times a day, RecurPost allows me to queue up a schedule of tweets and I only sort of use two or three a day because I don't like to sort of spam Twitter. I don't want people to think that it's just automated posts coming out of my Twitter account, I actually use Twitter every day myself. So it is, most of the time it's me. But this tool is great because especially now I've got all this vlog content, it allows me to queue up all this vlog content and then just send out drip fed tweets over the week which remind people about some of the older content that they may have missed the first time I tweeted about it. Next up, we have the project management software and the primary tool that I use to manage my projects is called TeamGantt. Now, I've played around with other software tools like Basecamp is another one that I've used. But TeamGantt is great because it allows you to visually schedule out your projects using a Gantt chart. And I've found that this has been very useful especially when you're juggling kind of six, seven projects at the same time. And if I've only got a limited number of resources like any work with a handful of freelancers, if the same people are working with me on several projects, I need to know what they're spending their time on so that I'm not kind of over-allocating projects to them and over-allocating tasks to them, and TeamGantt lets me do that really well. I've put Dropbox in this category because I couldn't really think of where else it would go, but all of my team use Dropbox to share files and have one central location that is completely safe online. Somebody's computer gets stolen, we're not losing work. And I think for the amount of money I spend on it, Dropbox is a godsend. For those of you who know me, you'll know that I'm a bit of a productivity geek. So I pay for two productivity software tools that I think are absolutely awesome. The first one is called Cloze and that's a relationship management piece of software which kind of combines email client type software with CRM functionality. And I should mention at this point, that Cloze are actually one of Videobites clients - but that's definitely not why I use them and I was using Cloze a long time before we brought them on as a client. But Cloze is awesome and it lets me do so many things like schedule emails to go in advance. So obviously being in Bali I work strange times compared to the UK and the US, so rather than sending emails to people in the middle of the night, I can schedule them to go when people actually are at work. It lets me see if my emails have been received and see if my emails have been opened. It gives me reminders if I haven't kept in touch with specific clients or potential clients and lets me know if I need to catch up with them. I'll probably make another video about Cloze because it's just such an impressive piece of software and I just spend most of my day using that tool, so it's definitely something I don't mind spending money on. And another tool which I can't speak highly enough about is Calendly which allows you to basically synchronise your calendars with the tool and then send out a link to people that they can click on, and then they can book a meeting with you which just stops that whole back-and-forth conversation. When you're trying to organise a meeting, people, you end up sending four or five emails trying to figure out a time when that other person is free. So especially now I'm traveling a lot, having one central location that people can click on and they can choose to book a time to meet with me which is based on time slots that I've decided I'm available for just makes my whole life so much easier. And for the amount of money I spend, this is probably the most valuable money that I actually spend each month. Additional software: The final group of expenses is all the other software that I feel didn't really fit into those other categories. So that's things like Zoom which is my video conferencing software. You can get a free package but it's limited to 45 minutes per call. I do a lot of video conferencing especially working remotely and I think having video conferencing rather than phone calls is so important when you're working remotely, because I think, especially with new clients, when they actually can see your face, I think it adds a lot of value. And there's a lot of trust being built there when they can like kind of look you in the eye and have that conversation. So, all of my client meetings I have, I always schedule face-to-face meetings via Zoom and I feel it's a really useful tool for that. It's also a great tool to record meetings as well, because quite often I wanna go back and listen to what was discussed and take notes. That allows me to be fully present when I'm speaking to my clients. I also pay for Epidemic Sounds which is an awesome music library that lets me find all this great music that I use on my vlogs, and I also pay for Photoshop on a monthly basis which allows me to kind of make all these pretty thumbnails and do a lot of my graphic design work. And I think that's pretty much it for my monthly outgoings, but having said that I obviously spend money during the year on different things like travel and going to conferences, but that's kind of quite up and down and it's not like a set fixed fee every month. So I haven't included that in this video. If you've got any suggestions as to where I'm spending too much money or questions about what you should be spending money on if you're just getting started as a freelancer, please leave them in the comment section below the video and I'll see you in the next episode.
4:21

Most Important Skill for an Instructional Designer

4 months Ago
In today's episode, I'm gonna share the one skill that I've learned that I feel's made the biggest difference in my career as an instructional designer. Now, I've been asked this question a lot recently - “what are the key skills that you need to be a successful instructional designer?” And I'm sure if you ask a hundred different instructional designers, they'll all come back to you with a different answer. So what I'm gonna talk about today is very personal to me. And before we get started, I should also address this constant, pain in the arse issue of terminology. I'm talking about instructional designers, but what I actually mean is people who design training. So, let's get down to it. The one thing that I feel has made the biggest difference for me, as an instructional designer, has been my experience as a classroom trainer. Before I even got into designing e-learning, I actually delivered classroom training for about six or seven years. Now I'm sure people are going to say “well, you don't need classroom training experience to be a good instructional designer” - and I actually don't know whether that's right or wrong because I can only speak about my own personal situation. But for me, there was such an incredible learning curve when I was actually standing in front of a group of people and delivering training. I just learned so much about how people learn. I learned about the pace of how quickly to deliver information. I learned about how to structure my training so it wasn't too overwhelming, and you just kind of gave people confidence a little bit at a time. I learned how important it was to get people hands on, and actually practicing the things that you're talking about, and how people would zone out if you just had PowerPoint decks with huge wads of text. Now, you can learn all of these things from listening to somebody like me talk, and say “yep, all these things are important”. But I really think until you've had the experience of standing in front of a group of people, and I'm talking about classroom training here, but actually I think the same principals would apply if you were teaching somebody one-on-one. But until you've gone through that process of teaching somebody and failing, and then trying it again and improving, and failing, and trying again, and really honing your skills as a trainer, I don't think there's any substitute for that and going through this process of training and learning how to train, I just don't think that you could learn that through an academic process. Now you might be thinking to yourself “well, have I got to go out and get a job as a trainer before I can become an instructional designer?’ And my answer to that question would be, “I think it would be very beneficial to do that, but if you don't have that opportunity or it's difficult for you, I think the next best thing would be just to try and learn to teach somebody something that you have expertise in”. So just try and think of one thing that you are an expert at that you could help somebody else with. The one example I always talk about, because I have experience in this, is teaching elderly people how to use technology. This seems to be a constant, re-occurring theme in my life whether it's family, parents, grandparents, aunties, uncles, and my very first job as a trainer was actually teaching older people how to use technology, so I've always had that opportunity to practice my training skills in that environment. If you could actually sit down with somebody who's never used an iPhone before and show them how to swipe through the menus, and how to open apps, and download apps, and all that kind of stuff, you'd quickly see how difficult it is to teach somebody about that, and I feel like over time you would develop some really strong training skills from going through that process. It really lets you sit back and refine your skills in the way that you talk to people. And I feel like that skill isn't just applicable as an instructional designer, but also in every day life. I quite often notice how I recruit these skills when I'm actually just communicating with people like my clients, other freelancers I work with, my family. If I'm trying to communicate a message, and I want to do that in a very clear, methodical, and easy to understand way, I just recruit these skills that I've learned as a trainer and I feel like it really benefits me in being able to deliver this message, and hopefully that comes across in these videos that I'm making, as well. So I hope that was useful, do you guys agree with me that you need to have experience as a trainer to be a great instructional designer? Pop your answer to that question in the comment section below the video and I'll see you in the next episode.
3:27

How Jimi Hendrix Will Improve Your Training

4 months Ago
One of my favourite movies growing up, was 'White Men Can't Jump. And I always remember that scene, where they're driving along in the car, and Woody Harrelson puts on that Jimi Hendrix tape, and they have that back-and-forth argument about…. well I tell you what, let me just show you… - [Wesley Snipes Character] Hey, who's this? - Jimi Hendrix. - No I know who it is, why you playing Jimi? - Well, because I like to listen to it. - Oh you like to listen. That's what the fucking problem is, y'all listen. - Well what am I supposed to do, eat it? - No, no, no, you're supposed to hear it. - I just said I like to listen to it man. - [Wesley Snipes Character] No, no, no, there's a difference between hearing and listening. See white people, y'all can't hear Jimi, you're listening. - What the fuck are you talking about? His drummer was white. - [Woody Harrelson's character] Oh! Now what I found fascinating about that conversation, is that most of us would probably use the words ‘listen’ and ‘hear’ interchangeably. While they were talking about music, in my case we're talking about training, so we're talking about people speaking usually. But what he's arguing, is that when you listen to something, yeah okay, you're listening to the words, you can understand what's being said, and it's probably making sense to you. But when you hear something, it connects with you on a different frequency. You really internalise it. It probably stirs up some kind of emotion inside of you. And I know that from my experience, whenever I've learnt something. It's not been from listening to somebody talking, whether that's in a classroom or in a presentation, or in a video, or in an e-learning course. I learn when I hear things, when things connect with me, on a deeper level. When the words stir up some kind of emotions. Or make me think about things from a different perspective. And I know that as somebody who delivers training, delivers information, whether that's via, the training videos we create at Videobites, via the conference presentations I deliver, or maybe just by creating these types of videos. It's easy to get distracted by wanting to get, all the information in, and make sure you've said everything, that the learner might possibly need to hear. Rather than focusing on the frequency, and the way that we're delivering the message. And that's one of the reasons that I'm so passionate, and excited about making this vlog, is that it's so much more informal and it's talking about, you know, things that I'm thinking about as I'm speaking. And it's much less scripted, than anything I've ever done before. And because of that, I feel like people are more likely to hear what I'm saying, rather than just listen. So I guess my take away and advice from this episode is, that if you're creating kind of e-learning, or training videos, or whatever it is that you're creating content-wise. Think very carefully about whether you need a script at all. In 90% of the cases, I think a script is a great idea. But if you are going to use a script, and I'm talking more about, you know, using a voiceover to accompany your training. Spend some time reading that script out loud. As you're reading through it, think to yourself, is this the way that I would talk to somebody, if I was in a conversation. If the answers No, you really need to go back, to that script and try and make it more conversational, and more natural. I actually wrote an article on the Videobites website, all about the way that we write our scripts. So if you're interested in reading that, I'll put a link in the description below the video. What techniques do you use to make your training more real, and engaging. Drop your answers in the comments section, below the video, and I'll see you in the next episode.
3:27

#1 Tip for Getting Started

5 months Ago
For as long as I can remember, I've always been hesitant to finish my work. When I think about my days at school, I would start hundreds of different projects and very rarely finish them. And the same things happened since I've grown up. It scares me to think how many little projects I've started and I haven't actually followed through with them. You might've seen the short intro that I have on some of my vlog episodes. Well I actually made that over 12 months ago and just never got 'round to making the actual vlog episode and posting it to YouTube. And the reason for that is that I'm a perfectionist and I'm a serial procrastinator. And I've done a lot of research on the reasons behind perfectionism and procrastination and it's been really interesting finding out all about this and then tying that back to my own personality. And I think I can safely say that the reason I'm so scared about creating work, and then finishing it and putting it out there in the public domain is that I'm scared that somehow this work that I'm creating somehow reflects upon my character. If this YouTube video isn't absolutely perfect, somehow that means that I'm not perfect. When I go back and think about that 12-year-old kid who didn't wanna finish his painting because it maybe wasn't as good as the other kid's sitting opposite him, it makes me quite sad. Because I didn't finish that painting, I never started the next one, and the one after that, and the one after that. Just think, I could be an incredible artist by now! But the reason I wanted to talk about this today is that somebody recently asked me for one tip, if I could give them one tip for getting started as a freelancer. And I spent quite a lot of time thinking about what would be my number one tip. And so, here it is - there's nobody watching. When you first start a business or a side project, it might be writing a blog or writing a book or starting a YouTube channel, you might have an idea for a conceptual e-learning interaction, or an idea for a website. It's very easy to think to yourself “ah I'm not quite sure how it's gonna look when it's finished, or I'm not quite sure it's gonna be perfect, and that's gonna reflect badly on me”. But there's nobody out there watching! There's not a secret committee out there who are judging your work, reading every single word you write in your blog, clicking on every slide in your e-learning course, watching every second of your videos. The work you put out there doesn't reflect on you as an individual. It's just the next step in the creative process of turning you into the artist that you already are. But unless we put our work out there, we're never actually gonna find out who we are. And so my advice is, don't care about what other people think, don't care about what you think other people will think, because they're probably not watching anyway. Just get started, do the work, start the project, build a YouTube channel, create the blog, whatever it is that you're gonna do, get started, give it a go. Hm, maybe I should be a motivational speaker! Okay, that's enough for this episode. I hate giving advice, I always feel like I sound so patronising and condescending. But I hope you found that useful. There will be no vlog tomorrow because I've gotta leave the country. That sounds a little bit dramatic but one of the downsides to living in Bali is that you have to leave the country every 60 days to renew your visa, so we're heading off to Singapore for the weekend. But, I'll be back next week. If you've got any comments, leave 'em in the comments section below the video, and I'll see you in the next episode.
6:44

Building an eLearning Agency

5 months Ago
So here we are again. Wednesday morning and for those of you who've been watching for a while know that my Wednesday's are my client day where I do all my client meetings. I talked about this in another video, but the idea is that I get all of my meetings out the way in one day and that leaves the rest of the week free for me to do my kind of more creative deep work. And I've got a lot of client work on at the moment, which is great because it's lovely to have kind of lots of projects to be working on. To be busy to have the money coming in. To have the projects going out. To kind of be you know active and doing the work that I enjoy doing, but the problem with that is the problem that most freelancers have. Is that it leaves me in that kind of cycle where when I'm busy doing client work I don't have time to do any business development and marketing and it's easy to get stuck into that kind of feast and famine cycle. The feast cycle is when you're busy you're doing all the client work. You don't have time for the marketing and then when you know finish all our client work essentially then you're in a famine state where you're you know looking for work and then you have time ironically to do the marketing but by that point it's too late, and my long term objective is to eventually remove myself from the operational side of the business so that actually I can focus 100% of my energy on business development and building a brand, and actually you know getting the business into a fit state to run almost by itself. So that I'm not actually responsible for some of the key components. I've pretty much managed to remove myself from the operational tasks for most of the work that's involved with Videobites, but there are still three parts of the operational side of things that I actually still do. The first one is the instructional design side of things which actually when I was doing the kind of more traditional style e-learning back a few years ago I actually managed to get to a point where I was outsourcing that part of the work. So I know it can be done but because of the nature of the projects that I'm working on currently and the fact that because I have the expertise in software training and it kind of quite a deep history in doing that. I feel very confident that I could do a good job and that's actually taking up quite a bit of my time and mental energy at the moment. So I know that that's something that I need to eventually outsource. The second part of the work that I'm heavily involved in is the review and the QA, and I think actually it's important for me to stay involved with that. So when we're sending work out to clients. I want to make sure that everything looks as it should. It's up to the quality that I'm setting for my business and so I don't want to necessarily outsource that part. But the third task that I'm kind of undertaking for all of my client projects is the project management side of things. So that's kind of planning timescales, organising people, organising tasks making sure things are getting done on time. Making sure people have the right information and the right materials to do the work and this is taking up a lot of my mental bandwidth at the moment and I'm not trained as a project manager. It's something that I've just picked up along the way and I think I did a pretty good job of it but I know that I should really be outsourcing this part of the work as well and I think I'm a little bit reluctant to do that because first of all I've never outsourced project management work before. Second I guess is that I’m a bit of a perfectionist and I like to kind of do everything myself - but I know that actually I probably just need to let go and pass this off to somebody else. So today I've got a meeting with a lady who runs a project management on-demand company, where she provides project managers for specific projects. So you just kind of buy a project manager for a certain amount of time every week, and it sounds like a good first step to kind of dip my toe in the water to outsourcing the project management side of things. So I think that's my fourth call out of eight calls that I have today. So better get started. Wow! That was pretty interesting. I had a really good call about outsourcing project management and being able to bring in somebody to take on that part of the business for me and to be honest I got a bit of a schooling because the lady I was talking to is a out-and-out project manager and she basically gave me a bit of tough love and explained that some of the things that I was doing weren't really best practice and were actually harming my business. I probably really needed to hear that and it sounds as though the biggest challenge is gonna be actually for me to let go of the reins of managing these projects. It sounds like my business is a perfect type of business for her to work with and I know from my perspective I'm ready to outsource the project management to somebody else who knows what they're doing and can add value and can give me some relief from doing the project management on a day to day basis and I think the one thing that I've always found when I brought in people to help with my business is that because they're experts in their field they've added a lot of value and they've actually made my business stronger and better than if I'm actually doing everything myself. So we're going to probably try a couple of trial projects. I've got a couple of new projects starting with an existing client. Very small projects in the next few weeks and it could be a perfect kind of way to start working with this company and to see if I can kind of hand over the reins of the project management side of things. I've always felt there's a bit of a blurred line between the kind of account management and the project management and what this lady explained to me is actually that I needed to really break those apart and the business development and the client relationship management side of things where you're discussing contracts and pricing and all that kind of stuff, is very different from managing the project and getting things done. So anyway I'll keep you updated on how that all goes. It's coming up to six o'clock now. I've had a really long day. I've got another three hours of meetings this evening. So I'm going to get back to work. If you've got any questions or comments, drop them in the comment section below the video and I'll see in the next episode.
4:24

Should IDs be Experts with LMS?

5 months Ago
A few weeks ago, I was chatting with one of my friends who, in the last couple of years, has graduated from university with a master's in Instructional Design and then subsequently spent a couple years freelancing and doing subcontracting work and just trying to build up a bit of expertise and experience in the field of instructional design and to try out some different projects and figure out what she's good at, what she enjoyed, and where she should focus her energy in the future. She had recently been approached by a client who wanted her to build him some training content and who also wanted some advice on the best Learning Management System to choose. My friend admitted to me that she didn't have any experience in Learning Management Systems and the different platforms that are out there. And she almost felt a bit guilty that she was positioning herself as an eLearning professional but that she didn't have any expertise in the platforms upon which her content is gonna be delivered. And so, the question to me was, as an instructional designer or content developer, should she have expertise in Learning Management Systems? Whilst I don't necessarily know the right answer to the question, I wanted to share my thoughts 'cause I thought it might be quite useful for you guys as well. So, there's lots of different parts to this question but if we break it down to the kind of bare bones of the question, and this is something I talked about in my video that I published last week. I think it's important, again, to always go back to that question of why are we doing this job, why do you want to be an instructional designer? Why do you wanna create training content that's gonna help other people? And for me, it was always about helping people learn. So, if we're saying that our ultimate objective is to help people learn, we need to be looking at that whole learner experience right from the very start to the very end. And therefore, it's not just the piece of content that you're creating. When the learner sits down to do their training, they're not seeing the content and the platform as two separate entities, they're having one experience. And so, it's really important that learning designers consider that whole user journey from start to finish, and that includes the platform. Let's use an analogy. If we were a chef and we were working in the kitchen and we were creating the most beautiful tasting food in the world, do you think we'd be successful if we passed off our food for somebody else to put on the plate and didn't care about how it looked? Maybe that's a silly analogy but all the best chefs in the world takes so much care over the way that their food is presented because they know it's an integral part of that experience. And I think, quite often, learning designers can use the excuse that the content they create is gonna work on any platform, whether it's video or SCORM or HTML5, we create this content and then anybody can stick it on any platform and it will work just fine. But we're not really taking on the responsibility for the learner's journey if we're just doing that. So, if we are saying that we're gonna take responsibility for the whole learner experience, including the content and the platform, then the question really comes down to how much knowledge and expertise do we need about Learning Management Systems. Now, Learning Management Systems are an absolute minefield, so, becoming an expert in all those is absolutely impossible. But what you can do is understand the basics of how they work, how they're set up, and how learners are gonna interact with the content that sits on the platform. Personally, I'm becoming quite skeptical that traditional Learning Management Systems are the answer. And I think that there's lots of other ways that we can deliver training content that's far more effective, far less cumbersome, and far cheaper as well. And so, I think learning designers and instructional designers should be more interested in some of these techniques that we can use to deliver training content. And maybe we even need to flip this whole way of thinking around and rather than thinking about building the content first and then worrying about where the content is gonna stay afterwards, we should be looking at this experience as a whole right from the beginning of when we're designing the training and start thinking about the delivery mechanism even before we start thinking about design and content. I’m really excited about where this YouTube channel is going because I've got lots of ideas for different tutorials on helping people use different tools and different techniques for delivering training content and I'm really looking forward to sharing some of those with you guys. So, my question for you is how much expertise do you have with Learning Management Systems and different platforms, and how much time you spend in thinking about different delivery mechanisms that you can use to deliver the training content that you're creating? Please leave your answers in the comment section below the video and I'll see you in the next episode.
3:07

Advice for a young Instructional Designer

5 months Ago
In this video I share something I wish I knew before starting a career in Instructional Design. Video published: 27th April 2018 For more information on Videobites, please visit the website: http://www.videobites.co Twitter: @antpugh Email: ant@videobites.co
4:27

My Love/Hate Relationship with L&D

5 months Ago
Today I talk about something I've struggled with for years - my love/hate relationship with learning and development. In this episode I talk about my struggle with the industry I've worked in for the past 15 years. Video published: 26th April 2018 For more information on Videobites, please visit the website: http://www.videobites.co Twitter: @antpugh Email: ant@videobites.co
8:26

How I Make Money

5 months Ago
In today's episode, I'm gonna share some of the different ways I've made money since I started freelancing. In the last few weeks, I've been publishing more and more videos to YouTube. And, what's happened is, I've been getting more and more comments on the YouTube videos, replies to my tweets, replies to my Facebook comments, and just generally having a little bit more conversation with the people who are actually watching the videos. And this is also helping me understand who it is that is watching the videos, as well. So far, it seems to be quite a nice split between people who are working internally in a Learning and Development position within their company, and people who have maybe started freelancing, or started their own business in the Learning and Development space. You've probably noticed that I've been posting more and more videos about how to get started as a freelancer. And this has been because I've been getting a lot of questions about that. So, what I thought I'd do is put them all into one playlist on YouTube. If that's something you might be interested, I'll put a link at the top of the video and you can go and check that out. But in today's episode, I thought it would be interesting to talk about some of the different ways that I've made money since I started working for myself. So, the first and the most common way that most people make money, is by selling services. And that's exactly how I started. When I quit my job to start freelancing, I didn't really have a clear plan about how I was gonna physically make money. I knew that it was gonna be using my skills and my experience in Learning and Development. But I wasn't quite sure how to turn that into something that could make money. And I think, as a lot of people do, I kind of fell into the role of a freelancer and was pitching myself as somebody who could do everything. And so, a lot of clients would come to me and they would say, look, we need an e-Learning course, or, we need to convert this Classroom Training course into digital learning content, or, we need to try to convert this oldie learning course into something more up to date. And so, I would take responsibility for everything, from scoping the project, to writing the design documents, storyboard, to designing the user interface, and, you know, the slide design, to doing the technical development work to make sure the course was up and running and working correctly, to actually implementing that within the Learning Management System. I'm doing the whole thing from start to finish. That was essentially the only thing I sold for the first six to 12 months. It wasn't long after that, that I was getting too much work to handle on my own. So, what I did, was I started outsourcing some of the different components of the projects to other people who could remove some of the burden from my shoulders. And, quite quickly, it turned into a situation where I was actually project managing these projects, and most of the components of the work were being done by other people. So, in that scenario, I was essentially acting like a small e-Learning agency. Now, around that time frame, I kinda started becoming a little disheartened with the type of content that we were creating. And I was looking to have more of an impact in people's businesses. And that's when I started playing around with the idea of working as an e-Learning consultant, rather than as a, kind of, somebody who was delivering content. And that was the second way that I made money was to sell strategic engagements, rather than selling my services. So, rather than saying, yes, you give us some money and we'll go and build something for you, and deliver something tangible, physical, that you can touch, you can pay for me to come into your business. it might be for an hour, it might be for half a day, it might be for a day, and I will offer consultancy, and I will give you strategic advice on the way you should be working within the project. And I sold a number of these type of consulting engagements, which went really well. And that was the main reason why I wanted to move from being a developer, if you like, to a consultant. Because I felt I was offering a lot more value doing that. And I felt I was, you know, making a lot more money from it, as well. Because, rather than selling something that was gonna take me four weeks to deliver, I was just actually spending, you know, half a day or a couple days doing this type of work. And once it was finished, I was then free to move on to the next project. Another way that I made money, quite early on in my freelancing career, was by delivering classroom based training. Now, I've done a lot of classroom training in my career. But I'd never pitched myself as somebody who wanted to do training, you know, once I'd started freelancing. But a few clients had come to me and said “look, you know, you've built this course for us, or, we know you have the skills to build these courses, what we actually want to do is train our staff internally to do it themselves”. Because, maybe they don't have the budget to bring somebody in to do it for them, or they just see that this is going to be something that they need to do over the long term, and it would be more cost effective for them to do it in house. So, I was able to deliver a number of training sessions for some of my own clients, where I would actually go onto their premises and deliver that classroom training. And, that was usually quite technical. So, it would be around things like Adobe Photoshop, Articulate Storyline, TechSmith Camtasia, Microsoft PowerPoint, but it was all to do with creating content, and how we can use these tools to build effective learning content. I also did the same type of training for a couple of training agencies, which was another great way to make some additional income, in addition to the services that I was offering. Now, another way that I've made money since I started freelancing, and actually this is a bit of a cheat, because I started doing this before I started freelancing, but this was to write guest blogs on a number of different e-Learning websites. So, what I actually did, is I actually reached out to some of the bigger e-Learning websites, that I saw had quite famous blogs. And, I contacted them directly and said, “look, I am somebody who works in this space. I have this particular experience, this particular viewpoint on, you know, different elements of digital learning and Learning and Development. Would you be interested in paying me to write articles for your website, and deliver you great content?” And I actually did this for two, quite large, e-Learning websites. And this enabled me to make additional revenue, in addition to the services that I was already offering. Another way that I've made money, since I started freelancing, was to deliver paid webinars, as kind of a partnership with some of the bigger e-Learning companies. So, the way that worked was the e-Learning companies have got huge databases of people on their e-mail lists, I've got the expertise, and the specific outlook and perspective on something within the industry of Learning and Development. And so, I would prepare a presentation that I could deliver to their audience. They would bring the audience. I would bring the content and the delivery. And then they would pay me for delivering that webinar. Obviously it's delivering value to their audience, because I'm able to talk about something that their audience is interested in. And this has the added benefit of being able to position you as an expert. And I've actually had some business come through this channel, where some of the people who've been watching the webinars, have then paid me to do some work afterwards. Now, I wanted to talk about one last technique, which technically I haven't made any money from, but it's something that I do see as being profitable, because I've actually spoken at a few conferences, and whilst I haven't been paid directly to speak at the conferences, I have been paid, kind of, expenses like travel, and accommodation, and food and that kind of thing. And, most of the conferences that I've actually spoken at, I would probably have attended as a delegate anyway. So, I actually see that, you know, even though I haven't physically been paid, I see it as being something that's actually, you know, helped my business. And I have in a kind of round about way received some form of income for them. Speaking at conferences is a great way to build authority, and increase your exposure within an audience. And, it's definitely something that I've been looking to do more of in the future. So, that was kind of a quick overview of some of the different ways that I've made money as a freelancer. My next goal, actually, is try and generate some form of income from this YouTube channel. And I'm not quite sure how that's gonna look yet, whether it's gonna be that I can get sponsorship for my channel, whether I can work with other partners to kind of, collaborate, and to bring in some kind of sponsorship revenue there, whether it's just gonna help elevate my profile within the industry and, you know, maybe I'll be asked to speak at more conferences, or to appear on more webinars, or write for more websites, that kind of thing. I don't know how that looks yet, but that's kind of my goal for the future. I hope you found that interesting. If you've got any suggestions for other ways that you could make money as a freelancer, especially in the Learning and Development space, pop 'em in the comment section below the video. I'll see you in the next episode.
4:28

I’m a Failed eLearning Consultant

5 months Ago
The first few jobs I took when I started freelancing were a combination of instructional design type roles where I would do the storyboarding on the project, e-learning design and development, so like graphic design and user interface design and also the development, so actually building the course and making it all work, and also I did some roles as a project manager where I would actually manage these projects for e-learning agencies. And the reason I fell into these types of roles was because I didn't really have a clear plan when I was leaving my full-time job as to what type of work I wanted to do as a freelancer. And this actually turned into quite a good experience for me because it gave me the opportunity to try different jobs and try and make money in different areas and see what I was good at and see what I enjoyed. That was a great way to get started, but one of the biggest problems I had with this type of project was that I didn't have any control over the project itself and the impact that the project was gonna have within the business. So by the time I started working with a client or with the agency, the brief for the project had already been fully scoped out, and no matter how amazing the content I was creating was, I would have no control over the impact of whether that was gonna be successful in the business. So obviously when we create training, we're not creating it just for the sake of it. We're trying to create training that will impact the business in a positive way, will deliver a return investment. The ideal is that we're actually changing behaviour in the organisation or we're changing somebody's outlook on something or we're teaching somebody how to do their job better in the workplace. In order for me to get involved in that level of seeing an impact in the business, after about 18 months of freelancing I decided that I would try and become an e-learning consultant and actually offer companies advice more on the strategic side. So rather than just we've decided that there's an e-learning course needed. Here you go, can you build it? And then me going off and building it. I would want to get more involved in the strategy. So helping companies say, we have a need. These people in this team are not very good at X, Y, and Z, what would be the best solution to help us fix this problem? But to be honest, I found transitioning from a freelancer into a consultant, so essentially from somebody who is delivering the work to somebody who is delivering strategic advice, I found that transition to be really, really difficult. And I think the reason for that is that I was working with many clients who were part of a bigger company, so learning and development consultants, learning development managers, e-learning managers, training managers, that kind of thing, and quite often these people were being given large budgets every year to spend on training, but the responsibility of measuring whether that training had an impact wasn't actually down to them, and they weren't too concerned about whether the training was gonna have an impact on the business. They were more concerned about getting good quality training and making sure it looked nice and making sure they ticked all the boxes and were able to deliver that training and say to their boss, yep, we delivered that training. And then we can move into the next year and require the same training budget for the next year to be able to do the same level of training. The reason I wanted to talk about this is I've had a couple of people ask me how I transitioned from being a freelancer into a consultant. And the answer is, I failed pretty badly at doing this! And essentially the reason I started Videobites, which was over a year ago now, was because this transition failed and I just wasn't getting the level of consultancy work that I needed to sustain a business. The only alternative for me at that point was to go back to doing the story boarding, the e-learning development, and the project management that I talked about before, which wasn't something I was particularly passionate about. In hindsight, it was actually a blessing in disguise because that allowed me to set up Videobites, which is going great at the moment, and I'm far more passionate about creating an agency and building a business around video. And I feel like actually the fact that I failed in this transition was probably a good thing and I can focus my energy now on the different project. But I think it's important to talk about these things because it's a nerve-wracking thing to do is to change your focus or to pivot from one thing to another thing. But at the end of the day, if you don't try these things, you're not gonna grow as a person. You're not gonna be able to say that you gave it a go. So I thought it was important to share that story. If you've got any comments about what I talked about, please drop them in the comment section below the video and I'll see you in the next episode.
7:48

Charging Hourly vs Project

5 months Ago
So should you be charging your clients based on your time or on a per project basis? Ever since I started publishing more videos on YouTube about life as an Instructional Designer, I've been getting quite a lot of questions coming through from people who are maybe not working for themselves just yet, but are thinking about doing it in the future. Or from people who've just started out and they need a bit of support and a bit of advice about the best way to deal with clients, to find new clients, to work with clients, all that kind of thing. So in today's episode, what I wanted to talk about is the different way that you can charge clients. Before I get started, I should say if you didn't see the video that I posted last week about how you can find different clients and different ways that you can work with clients and different ways that you can find freelance work, I suggest you go and check that out now. Once you've seen that video, you'll understand a lot more context around what I'm talking about today. So there are two very different ways that you can charge a client. And that would be charging them for your time, so you could charge them an hourly rate and you could say, "My rate is $50 an hour and that's how much I'm gonna charge you." Obviously, we'll see how that pans out and how much time it's gonna take. In the UK, we actually charge a day rate, so that's slightly different from some of the other areas in the world where you charge them an hourly rate. But the other way that you could charge them is on a project rate. So you could scope the project yourself and you can say, "Well, I think this is gonna take three months to deliver and, therefore, I'm gonna charge you a fixed fee "of X thousand pounds, X thousand dollars, "and I will deliver the project for that amount." And these two ways of charging are very different. Obviously, when you're charging a client on an hourly or a daily basis, you're not really giving the client the overall amount that the project is gonna cost. You're kind of saying, "I'm gonna charge you "so much per hour or per day." You might give them an estimate and you might say, "I think this is gonna take 20 hours or 100 hours, "400 hours or whatever it is, 20 days, 50 days." But that's very much an estimate. The difference by charging hourly is that you are very much estimating the amount of time, whereas, when you work on a project fee, you're saying to the client, "This is going to cost you X thousand dollars and not a penny more." It's irrelevant whether takes me 20 hours, 50 hours, 100 hours, I'm gonna deliver this work for this one set amount and you're not gonna pay anymore, that's what we agreed upfront. Now the reason I suggest that you go back and watch the video I talked about last week is that I talked about three different types of ways that you can work as a freelance instructional designer, but I think it applies to many other industries as well. And that is by working directly for an agency where you are essentially a subcontractor. And then the other way would be to work directly with your own clients. The reason that I bring this up is in 99% of the situations when I work with an agency and I am a subcontractor, and I don't really do this anymore but back in the day that I did this, I would charge a day rate for that type of work. And the reason I would do that is because I didn't have any direct relationship with the clients, in fact, nine times out of 10, I wouldn't even meet or speak to the client, I would be working just with that e-learning agency. And so if that e-learning agency hasn't done a very good job of scoping out the project with the client, and you delivered the work that you agree, and they deliver that to client and then the client comes back and there's lots of changes, lots of feedback, they need lots of things fixing, it's not how they want. If you've agreed a project rate with an learning agency, you're then in a situation where you're gonna have to do a lot more work to fix the work you've done in the past. And you're not gonna be getting paid the extra cause you've agreed to lump sum fee. So by working on an hourly or a daily fee without an agency, you're kind of creating a safety net to say, "Well, yes. We are gonna suggest that we're gonna estimate that this work is gonna take me 10 days to do. I’m gonna charge you X hundred dollars per day. And we both kind of know how much this is gonna cost, but you've got a safety net there.” And if they come back to you and say, "Actually, this is gonna be 15 days work." You haven't lost anything 'cause you can say, "Okay, great, I'll add into the five days onto the bill." And you charge them for 15 days instead of 10 days, and you haven't lost any money, and you've actually been paid for all the work you do. Now in the other situation, if you're working directly with a client, the client probably isn't gonna wanna work with you if you say to them, "I charge X hundred dollars per day. I think it's gonna take 10 days, but it might take 15 days. I’m not quite sure. And therefore the difference in price is gonna be quite considerable." If I was a client and I was paying for a project, I would want to know before I started how much this project was gonna cost me. And I would expect the freelancer to say, "This is gonna definitely take me 10 days, "and this is gonna cost me X thousand dollars, "or cost you X thousand dollars. "But if it actually ends up taking me double, "that's my mistake as a freelancer and therefore, "you as the client shouldn't burden the cost "of paying me for extra work." And so in 99% of the cases when I work directly with a client which in fact is all the work that I do now is directly with clients. But in all those situations, I will only work on a project basis now because I don't want to put the client in a position where they are at risk of spending more than we agreed at the hour set to the project, and I am willing as somebody who now classes themselves as an expert, to take on the responsibility if the project takes me longer to deliver then I estimated. Because I've done so much of this work now, I feel confident that when I plan a project, I can predict roughly how much time its gonna take me to deliver and therefore, I don't feel like there's a lot of risk when I'm preparing a fixed project fee. Now if you're just starting out with your own project, you might feel a little bit nervous about providing a fixed fee because you're not quite sure how long it's gonna take you to deliver the project. So I always recommend just try and be honest with the client and say to them, "This is the first time I've done this type of project. I know that might send that alarm bells ringing for you if you think you will, that's just gonna show that I'm not an expert, but in my experience, clients really value it when you're honest with them. If you can just be upfront about it, they've obviously decide to work with you for a reason but if you're honest with them and say you're not quite sure how to price the project, you'd feel more comfortable about working on an hourly or a day rate with among this project, and you expected to take a certain amount of time but you're not 100% sure. I'm sure they'd be very receptive for that idea. But on the whole, it's much better if you're subcontracting to work on an hourly or a day rate, and if you're working directly with your own clients, give them a fixed fee for the project. And if you're not sure about how much time it's gonna take you for that project, it's better to over budget, isn't it? It's better to set yourselves right. I think this is gonna take me 20 hours, if it only takes you 10 hours, great, you've made more profit. But it's better to set yourself a little bit of a buffer there and you're not putting yourself in jeopardy. So I hope that was useful. My question for you today is do you charge by hour or day? Or do you charge your clients on a project basis? Please leave your answers in the comment section below. I'll see you in the next episode.
6:34

Elearning is Better with Video

5 months Ago
Learning designers get stuck using the same tools and process - and we’re surprised why the training still sucks. In this episode, I suggest some ideas for creating quick and dirty DIY content that is cheap and effective. Video published: 20th April 2018 For more information on Videobites, please visit the website: http://www.videobites.co Twitter: @antpugh Email: ant@videobites.co
4:38

How I Stay Productive

5 months Ago
One of the best things about working for yourself is having the ability to organise your own schedule. In today’s episode I share how I limit wasted time to get maximum time to do creative, deep work. App mentioned in video: www.calendly.com Video published: 18th April 2018 For more information on Videobites, please visit the website: http://www.videobites.co Twitter: @antpugh Email: ant@videobites.co
8:47

Finding Your First Clients

5 months Ago
If you're thinking about working for yourself or freelancing as an instructional designer or elearning developer, how do you plan on finding your first clients? In this episode I explain some important advice that you may not realise. Video published: 16th April 2018 For more information on Videobites, please visit the website: http://www.videobites.co Twitter: @antpugh Email: ant@videobites.co
11:50

Freelancer vs Contractor vs Consultant

5 months Ago
So what is the difference between a freelancer, a contractor, a consultant, and an entrepreneur? When I was about to quit my job a few years back, and I was dead set on the idea of working for myself, I started doing a lot of reading online about how you can work for yourself, and there was lots of different material that I saw online about how to work for yourself, and it would usually involve the words being a freelancer, being a contractor, or being a consultant. I was never quite sure of the difference between those three terms, they always sort of seemed to be used interchangeably, and I actually just thought they were the same thing. And then when you start throwing into the mix other phrases like entrepreneur, and business owner, and solopreneur, and bootstrapper, and all the different words that you hear banded around when it comes down to essentially just working for yourself, that's all we're talking about here. I think it can be quite confusing. So in this episode, I just wanted to talk a little bit about after having worked for myself for a few years now, what my experiences of those three phrases, and what I see as being the key differences, because I think actually there are some quite significant differences, and it's something that I think would be quite useful for you, if you're thinking about starting your own thing or working for yourself in the future, knowing the difference between these terms could be quite useful. So let's talk about the most commonly used phrase to begin with, and that is ‘freelancer’. So I would say a freelancer is somebody who works completely for themselves. They don't have any fixed contracts with any of the companies or clients. They're free to do as much or as little work as they want. They're not sort of tied down to a specific amount of time per week, or per month. They're not tied down to only working for one company or client, so they can take on three or four projects at the same time. And they're not tied to working in specific locations as well, so they could actually work from home or work remotely, and I would say that's the predominant work that I've done in the last three and a half years has been freelance work, because it's been exactly that. I've never felt restricted to only working for one company, I've been able to work remotely, I've been completely flexible with how much I charge and for how long I work with each client. It's been totally down to me, and that's because I've kind of pitched myself as a freelancer. So that would be how I would describe a freelancer. Now the second phrase, and I should start off by saying I'm not sure if this phrase is used worldwide, I know it's very heavily used in the UK where I'm from and where my business is based, but that's the word ‘contractor’. And if you start working as a contractor or you start a contract, that would be a similar scenario where you would be working for yourself, you wouldn't be a direct employee of a company, but you would be signing a contract to work with that company for a set amount of time. That's usually the main difference between being a freelancer and a contractor. So when I started looking for work working for myself, I saw a number of different contracts that were, they looked to me more like full-time positions, but the contract would only run for a set amount of time. So it might be three months, or six months, or twelve months. But within that three, six, twelve month time frame, you would be expected as a contractor to be working on the client's site. Now that might have a little bit of flexibility where you could discuss with the client, say look, I'd like to work on site three days a week, or at home two days a week, and usually what I found with those sort of engagements is there is a bit of, usually they'll specify you have to be in the office five days a week, but once you actually get started on a contract, there's usually a bit of flexibility there, and as long as you attend meetings and you're available at certain time, periods of time, there's a bit of flexibility there. But the basic premise is that you will be on site, at that client location for a set number of days per week, and the contract will run for a set number of months of the year. The problem I had with that is that it's exactly like having a full time job, but much less secure. So you're saying to a company yeah, okay, I'll work for you for six months, I'm not gonna take on any other work. I mean technically you probably would be allowed to take on work, as long as you did it in the evenings and the weekends, but I've never been a big fan of working in what I call my free time, so unless you want to work two jobs, you're essentially gonna be doing contract work in the day, and then your freelancing work in the evenings and the weekends, which is fine if you're single, you don't have any kids and pets and hobbies and friends and family, but realistically, who wants to work more than 50-60 hours a week. So if you're doing contracting, you're basically working specifically for one employee, on their terms, and you're unable to do or to take on much more work than that. The advantage of contracting is that you can usually command quite a high fee, like a day rate, that's usually more, you can charge a higher rate than you would be able to if you were actually doing the job, but obviously you don't get things like health benefits, you don't get a company car and company bonus, stuff like that, usually you have to not have that. So for me, doing a contract wasn't that exciting, because I was just coming out of a full time job and I would have just carried on doing a normal job if I wanted to do that. So that's kind of my description of what being a contractor is. So the third phrase I wanted to talk about today was being a ‘consultant’. Now a consultant, I would say, is more similar to being a freelancer. If you're a freelancer, you're probably getting paid to do some specific work. So in my situation, I was good at instructional design, so writing storyboards. I was good at building e-learning content and training videos, and doing the hands on stuff where I was physically building stuff. I would also do some strategic work as well, like advising my company on which tools to use, which learning management system to implement, what would be the best techniques to deliver the training in, all that kind of stuff, but it was very hands on work. As a consultant, I think it's fair to say that a consultant is somebody who would come in, and they would do, 99% of their would be the strategic side of things. So they would be there to offer guidance on what work should be done. So for example, in a project, a typical project that I might work on, a client might come to me and they might say, we need 120 training videos on how to use a piece of software that our customers are gonna use. Now as a, if I was looking at this from a freelancer perspective, I would turn around and say “yep, fine, 120 videos, that's gonna take me three months, and I'm gonna charge you X thousand pounds”. If I was looking at it from a consulting perspective, I might wanna sit down with the client and say “hang on a minute, let's take a step back, why do you need to do, why do you think you need 120 training videos, let's just dig into this problem a little bit more. Why can we not just send all the staff an email, and that would solve the problem that you're looking to, that you're looking to solve much better than making 120 videos”. And that would be looking at it from a consulting perspective. And you might be thinking “well, why would I wanna do that, if they want to come to me and build 120 videos, that's great, that's a lot of work, I can go ahead and do that and I can make a lot of money, and deliver a great project”. I think when you look at things from a consulting perspective, you're looking at the project from a return on investment perspective, from a business perspective. It's all very well me taking on a project as a freelancer and saying yeah, okay, I'll go and make you 120 videos, but what if, if they're gonna spend, let's say they spend £100,000 on videos with me, and a year later they say “oh yeah, nobody's ever watched those videos”, it was a complete waste of money, they're gonna have a pretty bad opinion on me. I wanna have this client go away and tell everyone about me, and tell everyone how good I was to work with, and how I saved them loads of money, and how I was a great person to work with. So I don't want to waste the clients money. So if you look at the project from a more consultative perspective, you're really looking at tying the project to business value, and I think if you're gonna market yourself as a consultant, you're probably saying that I'm, rather than selling the implementation, I'm actually gonna be selling my thoughts, and my strategic advice, to help you with your project, and then maybe after that, the client would go away and they would hire a freelancer to actually implement the work, and it might be yourself that does the work. So actually in a project, you could fill both of those requirements. You start off by being a consultant, but then you actually deliver the project as well. I think that's the key difference between consulting and freelancing. So the fourth kind of phrase I wanted to mention is being an entrepreneur, or being a business owner, and I would say yeah, an entrepreneur and a business owner, and a solopreneur, they're all the same thing, it's somebody who's starting a business. I would say if you're a freelancer, you essentially are starting a business. So I think freelancing and entrepreneurship is very closely tied together. But I think the key difference between being a freelancer and being a business owner is that when you're a business owner, you're starting to think about your business as a business rather than just one job. So let's say in my situation i'm a freelance instructional designer, that would be the only part of the project that I would probably do. So a client might come to me and they're saying, we're building a training course, we need somebody to do the story boarding, can you come and do that as our instructional designer, and I would go in and I would just fill that role. As a business owner, I'm probably delivering the whole project. So I would probably go to the client and say look, I will come up with the solution that you wanted to try, 10,000 people on a particular topic, and the situation for me at the moment is software training, so I would to be able to train 10,000 of your customers on this particular piece of software, and this is the way we would do it. We'll go through the strategic parts at the beginning, then we'll do the story boarding, then we'll do the development, and then we'll do the launch, it's a whole project from start to finish. And as a business owner, I'm not necessarily responsible for doing every single piece of that project, I'm simply, as the business owner, responsible for delivering the thing that we're saying that we're gonna deliver at the end, so I might outsource different components of what I'm doing to other people. And that's exactly what I do with Videobites. So we've got a production line process, where we'll onboard a new client, they want 100 videos, we'll go through an analysis, a stage, which actually I'm doing that part of the project at the moment, but in the near future I'll be looking to outsource that. Then I'll be doing the storyboarding which is already being outsourced to somebody else. So I actually employ a freelancer who does that on a project-by-project basis. Then I'll bring in a developer who will do the development work on a project-by-project basis, and then we will deliver the project at the end. So it's my business that's delivering the work, but I'm actually using a team of freelancers to deliver it. So that's kind of the difference between the freelancer and the business owner is that when you're a business owner, or entrepreneur, or solopreneur, you're actually scaling the thing up to be more like a production line process, and you're in charge of the whole thing rather than just being one caulk in that whole process. So I hope that was useful. If you've got any questions or comments, please leave them in the comments section below the video, and I'll see you in the next episode.
8:13

Why I HATE eLearning

5 months Ago
In this episode I share why I have become so disenchanted with eLearning. Or is it e-learning. Elearning? e-Learning? Who knows. But watch this. Video published: 12th April 2018 Music found on Epidemic Sounds: Intro Music: No Love - Hoved For more information on Videobites, please visit the website: http://www.videobites.co Twitter: @antpugh Email: ant@videobites.co
7:42

Biggest Challenge For Instructional Designers

6 months Ago
In this episode I share the most difficult thing about working as an Instructional Designer. Video published: 29th March 2018 Music found on Epidemic Sounds: Intro Music: No Love - Hoved For more information on Videobites, please visit the website: http://www.videobites.co Twitter: @antpugh Email: ant@videobites.co
7:51

10 Techniques For Creating High-Impact Video For Learning

6 months Ago
Taken from my keynote '10 Techniques for Creating High-Impact Video for Learning' at this year's Learning Technologies Conference 2018 in Olympia, London. Video recorded: 31 January 2018 For all this years conference recordings, please visit: https://www.youtube.com/user/LearningTechUK Music found on Epidemic Sounds: Intro Music: No Love - Hoved For more information on Videobites, please visit the website: http://www.videobites.co Twitter: @antpugh Email: ant@videobites.co
12:45

How Our Clients Use Articulate 360 To Review Videos

6 months Ago
When we finish making a software training video, the first thing we wanna do is get some feedback. So that might be feedback from other people within the business or we might wanna get external feedback from clients. When I first started Videobites and we just had a hand full of videos, it was quite easy just to send the video across. What I used to do actually was put it on YouTube on a private or an unlisted video link which meant that nobody else could see it unless they have that specific link. And I used to just send that link to my clients. They didn't have to login or anything, they could just watch that video online. And then I just ask them to send their feedback back in either a Google doc or via email, something like that which actually works fine for one, two, three videos, no problem whatsoever. But once we started getting some bigger projects, and the number of videos that we were creating increased, and just to give you some idea, one of the most recent projects were working on which we're about halfway through now, we're actually delivering I think it's about 120 videos for the client, and I think that's set to increase about 160 soon. So when you have that volume of videos, and a little of these kind of bite-sized sub five minute videos. But when you have that volume of videos, it's really important to have a very kind of well defined process for reviewing the videos to make sure that the client has seen every single video all the way through because obviously for few reasons, but first of all because it's important for them that the videos are correct and accurate and to the quality that they need. But also from our perspective, we don't want to be sending these videos over, and then six months later, hear about from the client that somebody's noticed the problem and then we have to fix it, if there's any issues, we wanna iron those out as soon as possible. So having a very well defined process that allows us to guarantee that the reviews are thorough, and that we know that the client has seen all aspects of the video, and they'd been able to leave comments and feedback, and we've been able to take those edits and make the changes to the videos that the client's requested. That process is really important. And so we decided quite quickly after starting Videbites and started delivering videos that we needed a much better tool essentially in order to capture feedback from the clients. What we stumbled upon to do this was Articulate 360. Now, I've been involved in kind of the e-learning community for a few years now. I started using Articulate Storyline back in 2012. And Articulate Storyline product has developed over time and the latest software suite is called Articulate 360 which actually bundles in the Articulate review tool. The review tool hasn't really been designed specifically for video, it's more for kind of interactive traditional e-learning contents. But having said that, it works absolutely great for the video, and we found that using it for video has been a really good way of being able to send our client, we send an individual link, a URL, and they can click on the link, and then they can leave comments on each individual video. And what that means is that rather than just having a kind of an email response saying, "I didn't like this, I didn't like that, this looked good, this didn’t look so good but we're happy with that." Each individual comment the client leaves has a timestamp next to the part of the video that they've left a comment which is so useful when you've got 40 videos, and you've got four or five different people leaving comments. Because when you're editing those videos, when you go back into the video and you've got to make changes, you wanna be able to see those in a chronological order. You wanna be able to go through the video from start to finish and see which exact things needs changing from start to finish. And so using Articulate 360 allows us to do that. Having said all that, there are a few small issues that I have with the tool and I think not specifically because it hasn't been designed for video. That's definitely something that I'm looking at and starting to think “is there any other tool available in the market that can overcome some of the challenges that we're having with Articulate 360?” I thought of doing today's episode is just do a quick demo and show you how we're using Articulate 360 as a review tool specifically for reviewing videos. So I'll jump across from my computer now and we'll do a quick demo. So I'm logged in to Articulate 360 here. You can see that what we've got is a dashboard essentially which is showing me all of the content that I have available. I'm not gonna go through the upload process today because it's extremely simple and I'm sure you guys can figure that out yourselves. I think there's a free at least two week trial with Articulate 360 so if you wanna kind of give this a go yourselves, actually head out to articulate.com and give it a go, set up an account and try out yourselves. But as you can see here, I've actually uploaded one video already. I simply click on that video and I can go into the video itself. As I said before, this is designed more for interactive content but in this example, we're using it specifically for video. Now, we can see that the video is here on the left hand side and on the right hand side is a list of comments of which there aren't any yet. But what I'm gonna do is I'm gonna hit play and I'll add some comments and show you how the functionality works. So we can see the video playing over here on the left hand side, you can see there's a timeline at the bottom. And if I hit pause on the timeline, you can see that it's now stopped at 12 seconds in. You can see here that where I leave a comment, you could see that's already got a timestamp of 12 seconds so that's really useful. So if I add a comment here, I always think it's really important to leave positive feedback as well as negative when you do reviews because the person who's done the work is gonna see these reviews, and if they already see a list of kind of complaints or criticism, it can be kind of a bit demoralising so a bit of a tip there is always leave some positive comments as well if you think that the work is deserving of them. But I'm just gonna click on post now. And what we can see now is I've got comment from Ant and it's at the 12 second mark which is exactly where this video is at the moment. So that's one way of leaving comments. And obviously, I'm leaving comments on my own content here so that's kind of a strange thing to do but this would work in exactly the same way as if I had shared this URL with somebody else if they wanted to leave comments as well, and I'll go through that process in a moment. Now, it's a bit of annoying to keep having to press pause to leave a comment, so what you can do is if we press play again. If I jump up here, and I start typing another comment, we can see that the video is still actually playing and we're now at 27, 28, 29 seconds but you can see up here next to where I've added my comment, the timestamp is labeled at 14 seconds. So when I click post, what it does is it recognises the point in the video when you started typing your comment and it will timestamp it with that particular location. So we found that to be a really useful feature as well because I think this video is like two or three minutes long, in a two or three minute long video, you might only have, if the developers done a good job, you might only have a couple of comments and a couple of bits of feedbacks to leave. A typical video we might have between five and ten comments. Some positives, a few fixes and edits that need changing. But if you can press play and leave the video playing throughout the whole video, just type in your comments as you're watching without having to keep clicking on pause. That's a nice feature and it means that we don't have to kind of keep stopping and starting. So I'm just gonna add some more comments now. So as you can see here. I've now got several comments down the right hand side and what I wanted to point out at this point in time is something that I find a little bit frustrating with Articulate 360 is that all the comments are in reverse order. So you can see the top comment is the last one I left at one minute and 12 seconds, and then they go down as the video progresses. So for me to see the first comment I left, I have to scroll right down to the bottom. Now, this make sense because I wanna see the last comments that I left. But when somebody else is reviewing this video, if I send this to one of my clients and they review it, they're also gonna see these comments in the same order, this reverse order which is not really very useful. And so for example, what's been happening with one of our clients that we've been working with recently is that I've been reviewing the content first and then the client's been reviewing it, and because these comments are in reverse order, when they click play and they start watching the video to start leaving feedback, they have to kind of scroll down, and there might be more comments, there might be sort of 15, 20 comments on here. So they have to scroll down to the bottom, press play, and then they have to kind of move up as they go along. And it's a bit of a kind of a stop/start type of process. So in my opinion, it would be much better if we could reorganise these comments in chronological order. But also, what I would absolutely love and if this is a feature that can be added, I would be really happy about that is for these comments to move automatically as the video progresses. So the software knows where I am within the video because of the scroll up here in the video here. So if I'm at here one minute and 12 second or sorry 49 seconds, it'll be great if the comments that have previously be left at 49 seconds would be displayed here. And that would automatically move down or up, whichever way we're looking at it. And then I can see the comments because it might not be that I wanna add any comments but I just wanna see the comments that other people have left because I just wanna check. If somebody's left a comment that I agree with already, obviously there's no need for me to leave the same comment. So that would be a great feature that I would really like to see. Now, what we can also do with these comments is if i wanted to share this with somebody, if I click share and it's up here. We could see that there's a couple of options and I really like this feature. The first option is to allow users without an Articulate ID to comment. So I can just grab this link here, do a Ctrl+C and copy/paste that into an email and send it to my client. And I don't need to set up an Articulate username or password. Now this is so useful if you've got a team of five reviewers and they're all busy in their day to day jobs, and they're not excited about reviewing your videos, not kind of the highlight of their day. So you wanna try and remove as many barriers to them doing this type of work as possible. And by giving them a link that they can just quickly click on and start leaving comments, I think that's really, really valuable. If you have to setup an account and setup a password, it creates that barrier where they might forget their username and password. And if they have to go through that ‘I’ve forgotten my password’ process every time you send them a video, it's a huge barrier and it might delay the projects. So I think that's something that's really important. But as you can see here, you can set a password and you can turn that feature off. So you've got the flexibility there if you want to keep it a little bit more tightly controlled. So the reason I wanted to talk about the sharing settings 'cause once you share this with somebody else, somebody else could login and they can actually reply to your comments. So it might be that somebody does a review and then you want to reply to some comment saying, "Look, I actually disagree with your comment there. And I think the video is okay as it is." And that happens quite a lot actually, quite often kind of clients have disagreements about the way that they want things reviewed. So it's really nice to have the ability to reply and say, "Look, please ignore this comment. I actually disagree and I'd like to almost overrule about person that suggested because maybe we've had a conversation elsewhere and they're not aware of that and this is something that needs to be ignored." So that's a good feature as well. You could see here there's a green tick which allows me to resolve comments so let's say I fix that comment, I could click on resolve. And if I'm the person who's developed this video, I can just go through those one at a time. Hit resolve, hit resolve, hit resolve. It means that I've got a checklist of things to fix and I know that I've done them all once I finish them. So that's kind of a brief overview really of the software. I think that's everything I wanted to show you. As I said, it's not designed specifically for video but I think it's a great tool to use for reviewing videos. I'm gonna be doing a bit of research to find out if there are any other tools in the market that do this any better. If you guys have got any suggestions for other tools that do this better, I'd love to hear them in the comment section below. And I'll see you in the next episode, cheers.
9:04

Kids Vs Business

6 months Ago
Do I spend too much time at work? Or is having more time with family one of the benefits of running a business? Either way I tend to feel guilty for my work/life balance... this episode comes from Canggu for the start of 'Nyepi' (the Balinese New Year). Video published: 19th March 2018 Music found on Epidemic Sounds: Intro Music: No Love - Hoved Opening Music: Teenage Lullaby - Ooyy Background Music: Keep You Near - Sum Wave For more information on Videobites, please visit the website: http://www.videobites.co Twitter: @antpugh Email: ant@videobites.co
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