Becoming an edupreneur featuring Dr. Will
Updated: Jun 18
Hello edumagicians and welcome back to another episode of the edumagic podcast. Today I have with me Dr. Will. You've been asking for episodes about how do I get started in my online business? What are my first steps to getting my side hustle on? Dr. Will is the go-to guru when it comes to anything side hustle living your best life and making the money that you deserve when it comes to teaching and learning in the online space.
If you don't already subscribe to his podcast friends, you need to smash that subscribe button wherever you listen to podcasts on the Dr. Will show. He interviews educators and entrepreneurs, trailblazers in the education field that are making the money that they deserve and living their best life. Dr. Will is a documentarian for the edumatch publishing company. He has a documentary out there called the Edupreneur, and you can find it on Vimeo. You can either rent or buy it and he's gonna tell us more about later in the show, he's also featured in Forbes magazine.
Dr. Will would you mind sharing with my listeners a little bit about your teaching journey, where you are now, and what your passion and your drive have been to push forward with entrepreneurs and helping educators live their best life?
Dr. Will shares:
I graduated from film school, and I was thinking, what can I do that would give me some free time to write a script?
You know what I could substitute teach and that would give me free time. I started doing that. I enjoyed working with the students and ended up having a meeting happenstance with the Spanish teacher there. She and I were talking about interests and passion and Latin music. I started working with her, and I was speaking to her students, and then she told me, "Hey, we're having you know, it's gonna be a state language fair." Would you be interested and working with our students for doing the dance, and I did so it was, had a great time where we kids after school, you know, choreographed it and show them how to do this salsa routine and just watching them, you know to dive into this new experience was great. I had a great time with it. I was just nervous like sitting in the stands watching them.
The University of Southern Mississippi sent a postcard about AmeriCorps VISTA. I read more about it applied and I was actually accepted to a location in Boston and next thing I know I'm there. My job was to work as a college coordinator, which essentially meant that I created mentoring programs and college prep programs for students and underrepresented groups. We started out like at, seventh grade, sort of introducing them to the college process, what does all that look like? So they would have a leg up and understanding what was coming down the road face.
In doing that, again, I was thinking about sort of my experiences and thinking about, how do I expose these students and open up their worldview because what a lot of times schools, like the focus on our sort of academic differentiate deficiencies or, you know, how can we sort of engage the students without understanding that?
For some students, they're disengaged because they don't see the world being available to them. Because their world is real, their world, their block, their world is there, their neighborhood, their city, they don't see where they belong in the grand scheme of things.
So for me, I said, Okay, so we're going to take these kids to plays. You know, when we go on college tours, we're not doing in Boston. These kids can take a train right into the train to a school they want to, we're going to upstate New York. We're going to, Hampshire, college. We're going to all of these schools, we went to Maine, and we went to New Hampshire and all these places, you know, had to a charter bus. The kids I saw Yeah, you know, gotta go dress up, you know, you got to dress up your, your seventh graders we got to put on you know, let them see who you are. And we went there and to see their eyes open up and start to go, Wow, okay, this is real, like this is a possibility for me, you know, that was my window into, you know, really working professionally in education.
And from there I took a detour to grad school and trying to entrepreneurship thing and eventually landing myself as an instructional technologist with the school district I work for now.
I'm noticing a lot of thematic phrases and and and what you're sharing. So you talked a little bit about working with gear up and you started to take a different path and you went to graduate school, you tried the art you did the entrepreneur thing. You went to film school, you have all these three passion areas, education, entrepreneur, and film. And I think all of three, all of these three areas really merged into the edupreneur. Could you share a little, a lot, a lot about the entrepreneur and your passion for that project?
Yeah, it literally was born the idea of a documentary came from Dr. Sarah, the founder and CEO of edumatch publishing. I had her on my podcast. I was interviewing her about her entrepreneurial journey and she was dropping these jams. I was really excited.
I told her, I would love to write a book for you. I would love to be a part of your family. But I wrote the dissertation, I'm kind of done with long-form writing.
She said, What about a documentary and I said, What are you talking about? And it was her suggestion of well, it's her idea. Like, look, you're already are doing these interviews with your podcast, you could actually interview people and we could put together a story a narrative with that and that's like, Okay, let me think about that a little more.
So I sat back and I said, let's do this thing where they say, Okay, well, let me give you a proposal. Okay, getting ready to fill out this proposal sheet and what am I going to do? What am I going to do with this?
The first thing that came to mind was one to one. How do you go one to one in a classroom? Because that's my day job. But I didn't want it didn't have the same passion for it right?
You want to find something that when you don't feel like working on it, you work on it because the material draws you in.
I said I have to tell this story of educators becoming educational consultants are authors, of course, designers, you know, taking the information experience that they're already doing, and monetizing it to create a side hustle. Let me do this and I submitted the proposal. And Doc, was like, Yo, I liked it. Let's do this.
I just started thinking of my Dream cast of - Who would I want to be in this thing?
I didn't know what to expect because this is not the normal education topic. I'm not talking about how you engage students. I'm not talking about how do you use leadership to do X y&z and this is about asking people about what are they doing? To get that money though I don't talk about money in the documentary and I don't even in my podcasts. I
This is going to be good because I'm not expecting people to be to share what they are sharing and there was some other really personal stuff that didn't make the documentary but I was like, okay, hmm. Okay, this is going to be different.
This is going to be the people that you see conferences, you know, in the high profile dresses in the suits. You know smelling like corporate America you see these people there, but now you're gonna see these people in a light that you have never seen them if you don't know them personally like Eric, right? If you don't know Eric, you see Eric at the conferences in the suits always suited up. But you see him in a hoodie in a documentary right below Okay, here we go get it, casual Eric.
But when it's just really cool to see these people in ways you haven't seen them you hear the experiences that I'm talking about work-life, family balance and the whole idea of how do I create a business and what does that mean in terms of me as an educator and what I'm trying to provide, but also as a business person.
What Have I learned you know, which you should do? And when those interviews started to unfold, I was really really excited about it and that's when we hand it over to doc I kind of gave her an outline of what I was looking for from the footage. And she went to work and we just went back and forth.
Eventually, it was done. I was very happy about it because I graduated from film school. I never knew if I would ever do any work in the field, because, had gone on and got another bachelor's degree in child and family studies, and then went on to grad school. I just thought, Okay, that was just a life behind me. To be able to do this it was a great experience.
Now I know you have this passion for helping teachers when it comes to their entrepreneurial skills. You have a podcast that is dedicated to it. Why is this an important topic for our teacher candidates that are listening today?
I always tell teachers that no one goes into our profession, thinking I'm going to buy a Bugatti. Right doesn't happen.
But we should also not approach our profession and think We're going to be living off Bologna as well.
What we cannot do is negotiate our salaries, right? We're not going to, but most of us can't. If you go to a traditional public school, your salary is essentially state set by your state and local school board.
So, because of that I if you want and desire to get more income, which I would tell all people, you know, we live off of this thing called money. That right you know you need it.
How do you bring in additional income when your salary is set.
It happens and when you rely upon your district, to be your sole source of income. And if you have in especially when you have children that could put you in a bind, when you don't have income coming in, and so I'm all about teachers and all the individual.
Try for you to monetize your talents and take what you're doing. Because a lot of again, most of us, because we don't do it for the money the whole talk of money and doing this for money is off-putting for a lot of us.
I know my worth. Then you start to really think about, okay, now Where does my value really lie? And then you get to that point where someone may approach you and say, You're nice, you know, I love what you're doing. You're, you know, you're great with students. So you're doing this, I see you on Twitter, your blog, and you have this podcast, which you present at our conference.
A lot of us get excited. And you know, it's flattering. And we find then also we find ourselves just presenting and then all this stuff, you're not getting a check, or you become an ambassador for a program. And you know, they'll give you a T-shirt and a thumbs up. But what you're What are you doing, you're presenting at a conference is, and you're doing Twitter chats with these people, and you're doing all of this stuff.
I was the GG leader for Google - Google educator, the group leader. Google has these every state that has one I think some other countries. I never got a check, but Google expected me every month to put on some events. Well, you know, it wouldn't be on Google's cost Google and put up. Most of the mine was free because I would just do an interview and submit the link to Google and tell them he knows there was a whole form to fill out to every month. Yes, who was there? You know, what happened? What did you do? all that sort of thing. And I didn't get a check. But I was doing this work for Google.
I started to sort of re-examine My relationship with companies and relationships with some of the things that I was doing.
So after that comes, I called him Eric, I say, Hey, what's going on? And I was blessed to have him be able to kind of walk me through what is this thing looks like? And had information.
I completely shifted my mindset about asking for my money.
Because you, you know, from presenting at conferences and seeing so many of our colleagues on Twitter, and all of this stuff that a lot of us we do a lot of work for these companies and these conferences for free.
Because if you're doing that for free, what you're doing is you might be building a certain brand or expertise, but you're putting money in their pockets
By the way, all of that time that you are presenting at conferences, you are blogging for them, you're blogging about them, you are participating in twitch chat for them, what are you not doing, you're not investing in yourself. You're not spending time with your children or your spouse, or your family, but you're spending that time with someone else doing something for someone else that you are not having that benefit from?
Alright people, let's really reassess what's going on, and are you investing in you?
That is such a powerful, passionate why we need to think through, like you said, with your own genius - How can we live the life that we deserve live our best life like you say, with our own talents, gifts in our own, like our own genius in an online space. So what are some ways that we can get up and running? How do we even get started with this?
What do you want to be known for?
What are you known for?
Meaning when you're looking at your passion when you're looking at your knowledge, base, your expertise, your education, what are people coming to you for?
What are you so in love with that you get lost doing, you will tell yourself, I'm going to spend 15 minutes on it. Three hours later, you're still working on it. Because you've lost track of time because you just love it so much. S
From that, I would start building out content.
I would do, of course, free content, right. That's when you want to start, you know, giving talks, whether it be presenting at conferences, presenting at local organizations, local schools, on that information, you want to start a podcast, or you want to put together an E-book or worksheets or units.
Because what you're trying to do is build social capital. You need to do that before you try to build your wallet.
People need to know who you are because you have to build that like know and trust factor.
Which, if you want to get into this game, you got to learn the business again.
What can teachers take today and use tomorrow?
It doesn't matter your follower count, but how many people are rockin' with you.
What do you want to provide?
Think through this exercise of understanding what you provide, what, and how.
I help ___ + who + do what + how
Be YOU and Be AUTHENTIC!
You want multiple streams of income that provide value! You want to share your genius and the work that you are doing in the classroom.
More resources from Dr. Will
Connect with Dr. Will