As a teacher, we all want to see each others shine and progress. We want to be supportive and we want to share our passions to benefit everyone.
As a business, I bring that approach in as much as possible, from spending time writing high quality blogs to aiming to send a weekly email to the email club with ideas and tips. I even try and do a little face to face work at low cost or for free in terms of playground and pedagogy support and zoom calls. I see
this as a way to give back to a profession I love.
But, what many people do not realise, is that free is never free. All these little bits and bobs cost me money.
There are so many hidden costs behind any business; until I had my own business, I had no idea about half of them! There are the people costs. I have an accountant, Gareth and his excellent team, who keep us running. Admin support can vary depending on my needs but ensure we are always there for you. Then the IT and web support are Simon and Dan, who are phenomenal and have saved my skin many times but are invaluable for keeping the website, blog and more up and running. There is even a little marketing support from Nik who helps me write the most wonderful things. (If anyone is looking for any of these, please feel free to ask for their details, as they all come heartily recommended).
Then there are the hidden costs, the ones I didn’t know existed. The emails that get sent out every week take time to write and use software to store and write the emails. If we are seeing schools face to face there are travel and accommodation costs. Even staying at home has extra costs compared to when I was out teaching. There are resources, from books to paper and more, computers, websites, accountancy software, web and video hosting, apps to enhance the basic website, and so many more costs help ensure I can give you free support.
As teachers, we all know the quality of good education, and now, when I undertake CPD, I need to pay for that myself as well. That might be to up level my skills and knowledge (like the foraging through the seasons course or coastal activity leader courses I have done this year and the ongoing Masters degree), and all allow me to provide more support. They often inspire the freebies with blogs and resources created on the back of them.
I came into running a business through passion and suggestions from those who know me. Not because I am an experienced or knowledgeable business person. This means I need to spend time and money on courses to help develop those business skills. 60% of small businesses in the UK fail within the first three years – we are still going strong at five and a half. A big part of this is that I take the time to learn.
All of this is paid for through those fantastic people who join us for Dirty Training Weekends, take out membership, or engage us in training and consultancy. Those are generally people who have found our free resources helpful and want to help support me and the business – and, of course, they get access to so much more!
I have carefully considered what I can provide for free. This is usually down to passion, ethics or I know it can help make a significant change in a manageable way for me.
I know that what I do can drive forward change. It can save teachers hours upon hours, often equating to weeks or months for an entire school. It can make a true impact and help you tackle challenges. What I share may sound or look easy – but it has taken me years to get to this point.
As much as I hate it (and boy, do I hate it), I need to charge for what I do. I will always aim to have high-quality offerings available for free. But, as you know, free is never free.