End of the winter round up 2014 – ALP, career and scythe teaching designs

Well, this round up is starting to be a rather jolly annual thing, isn’t it?  What it usually means is that there are loads of things that I should have posted about, but didn’t, and now I’m posting about them all together in one giant fruit salad of designs…  Oh well.

This round up was prompted by having new members at our guild meeting (and one old member who hasn’t made it for a while).  There’s nothing like explaining your designs to people who don’t know about them to make you think, “hang on, I haven’t done anything about that in a while…”

Actually, I have been working really hard on my designs, I just haven’t been keeping an eye on the overview, the diploma as a whole.  Patterns to details, Beth, patterns to details…  So this round up is just to keep… mostly me really,  abreast of what’s happening to the diploma as a whole and how close I feel to accrediting.


Ah, Action Learning Pathway, how I have wrestled with you over the past year.  My ALP needs a redesign as the one I wrote at the beginning is no longer current and doesn’t really speak to me.  What I want is an ALP that will inspire me every time I look at it.  The reason I have been wrestling with it over the past year is that I want it to look pretty and I have only just come to terms with the fact that I am not a graphic designer…  Bad observation you might say.  Lying to myself about the level of my skills say I.  So, I have decided to put the paper-based ALP aside and make a video.  You might be thinking, ‘uh oh, same problem,’ but I’m actually quite good at video (for reasons I will explain later).  I guess what I am saying is that despite spending time on it, I have made bugger all progress with this design for a year but that I can now see the path ahead.  Once the video is made, I shall consider this design done.

ACTION: Draft storyboard 



Last year, in this post, I reframed my time and money design into a career design because I realised that thinking about ‘income streams’ put too much emphasis on one output – money – and didn’t have the sense of building something, or ‘wholeness’ that I realised that I needed.  So, a career design it was and that design took the form of a set of rules which went from the broad to the narrow.  From patterns to details.  A set of rules sounds quite vague but I found that once I had defined my destination (my purpose), the rules were just a broad way of getting there.  They are guiding principles.  This design is done (and it has been so useful).



Those of you who read my blog regularly will remember how difficult I was finding this design a couple of years ago.  I made some bad decisions (you live and learn) and pretty much wasted a scything season.  Last year though, I made better decisions and did really well.  Based on the enquiries that I have already been having this year, it’s shaping up to be a good one too.

This year I feel really relaxed about the whole thing.  I feel like I am getting as much work as I can cope with, so I am not going to do much marketing this year.  I’m going to let the work I have already done carry me through (the 80/20 principle in action).  I’ve also really relaxed with the courses.  They don’t make me nervous at all any more.  It’s very nice!

This design has taught me so much about running a business!  One of the main things I have learned is that if you want to make any money then don’t start a business that you need to establish as a ‘thing’ and which can only be done for half the year.  But anyway…  It’s also taught me some of the real basics like invoicing and accounts and how to do my tax return.  It made me go out and learn about marketing and it has made me think carefully about things like scaling and how to build a resilient business.

Essentially, for the purposes of the diploma, this design is done.  I intend to write a more detailed ‘what my scything courses taught me about business’ post soon.

ACTION: Write ‘what my scything courses taught me about business’ post

Clearly I’m going to carry on teaching scything, so I think I am ready to embark on the next iteration of this design.  That is The Growth/Resilience Plan.  All of the signs are there that scything is on the up and up, that it’s going to go mainstream very soon and I want to be there to catch and store (you know, in my bank account 😉 ) that energy.  I would also like to make sure that my little enterprise is resilient to the chops and changes of my own life.  I’m anticipating at least one change in my circumstances (kids) but there could be more (e.g. moving abroad for a few years).  All of this means that I need to get other people to teach for me.  It makes me feel good that I called my website learnscything.com and not by my own name.  Getting other people to teach for me is an issue as there aren’t really that many people in my area who are good enough at scything to be able to teach it.  So, I need an apprentice – which will require another design.  It’s exciting to be at this stage though – the stage being able to pass my skills on and build a future for my mini-business.

ACTION: Do apprentice design



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