Today I’m celebrating SignWise’s 1st birthday by writing my first blog, and if truth be told I will probably celebrate with a few Gins…
Blog first and Gins later!
I’ve often thought about doing this blogging thing but never really understood how to go about it and where to get started… So with the help of my social media/marketing guru, I’m giving it a go to see how it all works.
As it’s SignWise’s birthday, what perfect time to tell the story of how SignWise Tuition came about, and the successful first year we’ve had!
Where it all began…
I never aspired to be a business owner, I never thought I had the skills or confidence to achieve that status. And quite frankly didn’t have the drive to do so either…
So what changed last year? Maybe hitting 50 inspired me to achieve something with my life – nah, reaching that milestone only inspired me to drink more of the aforementioned Gin!
It was other people who motivated me, obviously having a lot more faith in me than I’ve ever had in myself.
No longer being able to offer Signature Sign Language qualifications through my current employer and having a handful of students disappointed that their hard work would not be acknowledged through certification was the motivation I needed, at least, to explore the idea of how I could make it happen for them.
It wasn’t long into investigating that I knew I couldn’t manage the workload, feeling both daunted and overwhelmed by the whole idea. Even now I don’t know how my PA convinced me it was all doable!
So, the first person I need to thank is of course my PA, Julie P. If ever there is such a thing as angels, then she is mine! She has more oomph than I ever dreamt possible, she has the power and self-belief that has carried us through this last year. With her ‘it’ll be fine’ mantra she has an unstoppable force that has driven the achievement of the last year. Her ‘can do’ attitude is the foundation on which the business is based. Without it, I’m convinced that SignWise wouldn’t be celebrating it’s 1st birthday. Big thanks to Mrs P!
There are two students I need to thank too, Mary and Kay. They both paid their course fees upfront which gave me the capital I needed to get started and register with Signature.
My dear family; Seren and Terry need thanks too, their patience and tolerance are much appreciated.
What a year!
So what has the last year been like? Busy, fulfilling and ever so slightly crazy! Well actually that and oh, and fun, did I mention it’s been fun!
My starting intention was to help the Level 1 and 2 students I had to achieve their qualifications, but somewhere along the way I found myself creating something that had the potential to grow into a proper business.
I’ve also been lucky enough to collaborate with Matt Talbot to create a BSL Level 3 course that is much-needed and desired for in Norfolk.
Also on board I have Ellie, widely known as Deafie Blogger, who helped us to launch a fabulous new website, looks after our social media and has created some awesome advertising materials and helped me to understand this blogging lark!
Together through tough times
After committing myself to allowing the business to develop, it nearly came crashing down when I was ill just before Christmas. I spent 3 weeks in hospital fighting an infection and a further 5 weeks at home recovering from the effects of it.
The business kept going because of Julie, and the patience of all my students that had their classes put on hold for 2 months… for which I’m forever grateful.
Although not all of my students have been impressed with my teaching style, I have received positive feedback and good exam results so far. Both of which I intend to never take for granted. Neither will I take for granted the risks I have of further infections and mobility problems.
The start of 2019 saw me re-establishing my classes and getting ready for the new Level 3 in April. My re-approval from Signature came through after their rules were changed via Ofqual and we had to complete extra work and my centre was given the results of the assessment we had.
Onwards we went, planning and preparing for new courses, helping Level 1 and 2 students through their assessments and of course gearing up for the Norfolk Deaf Summer Festival.
SignWise’s 1st year came to an end with the Deaf Festival – What an awesome event celebrating the Deaf and signing community!
It gave us a fantastic opportunity to showcase SignWise, with some taster sessions on both days. We had great fun meeting old and new students and our SignWise tote bags and sweets went down a real treat!
Looking to the future…
Now I suppose it’s time to look to the future, and it certainly looks exciting. I have courses filling up even before they get properly advertised! More companies and charities are asking to work with SignWise to raise Deaf awareness and teach their staff basic signing skills which is fantastic.
Also in collaboration with the Deaf Festival, we have received funding from a local charity to teach a group of children who are either Deaf or have Deaf family members. It’s super exciting that we can help and support these children and I’m looking forward to getting started in September.
The future looks great, so does prospect of a glass of Gin. I may be profoundly Deaf but I always hear when Gin time is calling…
Until next time,