…we planned out mom’s new workshop.

Mom has this geeky passion for self-start money management strategies for the everyday schmo. By day, she’s an admin assistant. By night, she’ll talk emphatically about investments and income tax. A hobby, like crocheting or sports betting. Last year, following a few TOD sessions, the four of us helped her put together a trial run of a 6-part seminar series using a few friends and colleagues as demo subjects, including Adam. Call it a success? Well, to this day, some in the group still occasionally meet with mom to pick her brain. It was only supposed to be a trial run. So, for argument’s sake, let’s say…yes. Since then, she’s toyed with the question: can her passion be upgraded to a profession?

Dinner: Beef tortellini and marinara sauce, mixed greens, baguette, red wine, espresso, red wine.

Mom’s enthusiasm for everyday money management just sort of happened along the way as a mother of 2, trying make a life in a small town, with all its small town opportunities, small town attitudes, and a small town, brown-bag economy that sometimes carries a future outlook of…”who knows”. Kids, house, car and university will be here tomorrow. Solid income? Who knows.

We love this community. The four of us (3 of 4 imported from the city) managed to settle, and want the same for others. It’s a lovely place to live if you learn to live with it – an approach which, through a previous marathon TOD session, even spawned the title of Mom’s trial series: “Money – learn to live with it”.

So tonight with paper out, we began spitting out new approaches for delivering her message again in the future: online video, webinars, lecture halls, board rooms, a blog, and one-to-one consultation. The trial run involved 6-weeks of 2-3 hour board room PowerPoint presentations. It worked well, but we were loaned a venue at no charge, and the audience was more-or-less hand-picked. We got lucky. A videographer friend has offered to help produce a series for video. But despite the low cost of producing and the Interweb`s infinite reach, is it the most effective way to connect with people? It’s at least a viable option for now.

Which brought up the next point: target audience. We jotted down everyone included in the trial run: middle-agers who’d admittedly fell behind their goal of financial comfort and are now scrambling to make ends meet, 20-somethings with little financial obligation, yet not a clue where to even begin mapping their financial future, and those who simply wanted to get the heck outta the rat race. Together, they make up a big chunk of the typical rural population.

So there’s a need. That’s good.

New page, we moved on to goals. An interesting one. Because the indirect goal is perhaps more important to mom than the direct one.Directly, she wants to make money-coaching more than a hobby, meaning she needs to find a way to sustain it. So we took down some potential backers: the local workforce planning board, the municipality, the local employment service, and the local community college. Importantly, each of which has, or at least has access to, a physical venue (and a client base).

Blog 2 - Mom's Workshop 01

The end pitch, however, would need to come from mom`s indirect goal: community building. Finding a means for people in our small, bedroom community (and potentially others across Ontario) to live comfortably and have the resources to build their community’s future. Rural living differs from its urban counterpart, in that it’s built from the ground-up, rather than the top-down. A much tougher grind in this day and age than generations ago. Agriculture, retail, tourism etc., the “ma and pa” mantra has been battered. So learning to live with what you have is critical. Some do it well; others need a lifeline.

Mom may be holding the rope…

Two bottles of wine and two pages full of:

-target audience
-viable venues
-potential backers

…looks like the brightly coloured, Crayola-fied workings of a business plan.