Getting all my ducks in a row!

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Getting all my ducks in a row!

Journal prompt:

What opportunities has an enforced ‘change of routine’ had for you? What new skills have you learned as a result of the extraordinary experience of lockdown?

Pathways Project: Create a Social Media Presence

The purpose of this project is to apply your understanding of social media to enhance an established or new social media presence.

Learning new technology is like learning to herd ducks! It’s fast and furious and often feathers will fly!

Opportunities to expand my social media presence, gain momentum in writing my online courses and ebook, and develop new technology and marketing skills have featured for me in the months of May to August 2020. This post enables me to respond to the Journal Prompt from my blogging group and complete the structure for my elective speech from Level 4 in my path Innovative Planning in the Toastmasters Pathways program.


I developed a new course called Family Story Magic in 30 days. This course helps people to gather the data and storylines for their ancestral stories. The development process was enabled by participating in Sarah Cordiner’s Concept to Course in 30 days program, an excellent vehicle for learning strategies in rapid course creation, landing page development and promotion of short courses.

Note: I highly recommend this course and others from Sarah Cordiner from her suite of courses.

I learned more about the navigational aspects of Thinkific, my preferred Learning Management System, in one month than I had done in one year by myself. During that month I also learned how to create short video tutorials using Zoom, with the share screen function for demonstrating live on a web page, in a piece of software or in sharing my instructional slides.

In this course I feature the creation of Ancestral Cards using Trello as a stepping stone to writing ancestral stories.

Tech: Now I have added an expanded knowledge of Thinkific and Zoom to my technology kit. And successfully learned how to adapt Trello to develop Ancestral Cards.

Prior to May, I had avoided using the Video lesson format in Thinkific as I was not confident that I could do these comfortably. With prompting from Sarah, and support from my peers in the learning community, I overcame those fears and did it. This was weird as I was so used to managing training online for large groups in Zoom and meeting with my Toastmasters online – this I had been doing for years.

Note: Family Story Magic is now attracting participants and I am planning more courses to complement this one. The introduction of Ancestral Cards using Trello is a feature of that course.


During June when we had successfully moved into our new home I spent some time in design mode and wanted to create a new look for my brand. One tool I had been wanting to explore in more depth was Canva. I had heard my peers talk about it and thought it had to be better than what I had tried to do in simple PowerPoint. It was a revelation.

Note: I highly recommend Canva for those of you who want to design your brand in your social media presence.

Another really useful tool, recommended by Sarah, is the DIYBookcover which enables you to design and develop a great image for use in illustrating or promoting a product or a course, as well as enhancing your social media presence and branding. The process recommended here was to first design your image in a product like Canva, and then upload that to the DIYBookcover site for conversion. Sweet!

I spent some time in with Canva and DIYBookcover. I came up with this little header using Canva.

coachcarole2020 canva design for my brand image

Then using DIYBookcovers, developed it a bit further to create this:

coachcarole 2020 mockup from diy book covers

and back again in Canva to create this header for social media:

Coach Carole Online Blogspot Banner playlist script

Tech: Now I have added Canva and DIYBookCovers to my technology skills.


During this month I successfully created and launched a free course called Blogging in the Past Lane, again in 30 days. This course helps people to use a blog service for sharing their family history stories. Once again the development process was enabled by participating in a repeat of the Concept to Course program from Sarah Cordiner’s school, and the completion of How to Create Profitable Online Courses.

This time I was more comfortable with the development of video tutorials and in the integration of a Google drive folder to share other course related resources. The multimedia lesson in Thinkific is so easy to do. Create your document, slides or forms in Google, store them in a folder, grab the link to the folder and paste into the lesson. Voila, instant access to specific resources.

By the middle of July my learning curve had ramped up considerably. The extra technology I learned in July will help me to promote and automate my communications with learners in my school and followers of my social media sites.

The tool for automating my communications is now Active Campaign – software that enables the user to set up a flow of communication when a specific event occurs. For example, lets say that you follow my blog CoachCaroleWriting – a short time after that you should receive an email inviting you to pick up some free resources and to participate in the free course. Of course by following the blog you also receive automatic notifications when I post a new blog article.

The tool for automating my posts to Facebook community is now Buffer.com– software that enables the user to schedule posts for display on a specific website or social media group ahead of time. By doing this I can focus my time on the creation of these posts in the early part of the month and not have to worry about forgetting to post – its all done for me. For example I may want to ensure that I have some weekly or monthly posts into a group that I manage.

Tech: Now I have added Active Campaign and Buffer to my kit of technology.


During August I was keen to keep up my writing momentum, this time to create an eBook. Yes, you guessed it I started another course with Sarah Cordiner’s school, called How to Write and Self-Publish Your Own Print Book and eBook. This seemed daunting at the start; could I actually write that in a month? What I learned from Sarah in this course is how to re-purpose what I already had written in my blog posts and turn those into the beginnings of chapters for an eBook. So within a week I had accomplished the first chapters of the book, 5000 words on the way to a goal of 25000 words. For this I needed a writing tool that enabled me to setup a goal with daily targets of word counts, and I chose Dabble Writer. I was familiar with this tool as I had been using it to create my blog post drafts, my fiction stories and my family history stories. Therefore it was only a short leap of faith to use it for writing the content of my eBook.

What I like most about Dabble Writer is that it will notify me on screen when I have reached my daily goal of word count and shows me my progress for the time period I have set for writing, eg one month.

Meanwhile back at the course level and my learning about building my brand and my business, I learned of two more fabulous webbased services; Fiverr.com and Upwork.com. Fiverr provides you with access to a huge pool of experts in their field who you can engage for development of things like your personal logo, social media headers etc. The graphic designers see your request and make a bid to take on the work. You respond to the one who appeals most (based on competencies, speed and cost) and within a few days the item is completed.

Note: Some of this was a little scary, in that I did not really know what I was getting involved with. eg Fiverr requires payment up front. However, I am extremely happy with the results. Here’s a sneak peek at one of my new logo designs.

Upwork.com also provides you with access to a full range of experts who you can employ for larger jobs such as website overhauls. In this site, you put in your description of work needed, your budget, your specific sites and resources and wait for an expert to make a bid. You then consider the bid and communicate with them in Upwork and await their proposal. Then you have the option of considering a few proposals before making a decision.

Tech: I have now added Fiverr and Upwork to my kit of technology solutions.

Now I just need to ‘get all my ducks in a row’ and remember which one of these tools or services are appropriate for the task I am doing.

New Logos

Genealogy Research Services

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