Do It Myself Blog – Glenda Watson Hyatt

Motivational Speaker

New Growth and New Opportunities Abound in My Community of Whalley

Filed under: General — by Glenda at 3:34 pm on Wednesday, June 30, 2010

After countless late nights working on countless projects, yesterday I unchained myself from my desk and escaped over to the mall. Actually I headed over to Simon Fraser University’s (SFU) Surrey campus, connected to Central City Mall, to watch Mayor Watts officially unveil designs for the new City Hall and Community Plaza.

Mayor Watts unveiling model of Surrey's new city hall

Artist rendering of Surrey's new city hall and plaza
(Image from City of Surrey’s media kit)

Also being built is a 75,000 square foot library, adjacent to City Hall:

Architect's model of Surrey's new library

Construction of the library is well underway:

Surrey's library under construction

The library's first floor is going up

Surrey library construction site

I’m eagerly awaiting the library’s opening scheduled for the fall of 2011. I miss losing myself for hours in library stacks.

The City Hall will open in fall 2013.

This skyline view from SFU will dramatically change in coming years:

View from Simon Fraser University - Surrey Campus

I’m excited to see this growth happening in Whalley, our less-than-shiny corner of Surrey. The area is growing up around Darrell and I, making more services and facilities accessible to us within our own community. Exciting!

Maybe I’ll run for City Council now that City Hall will be mere blocks away…

If you enjoyed this post, consider buying me a chai tea latte. Thanks kindly.

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Making It as an Entrepreneur: 3 Important Lessons

Filed under: Work — by Glenda at 9:00 am on Thursday, June 24, 2010

I was asked to write a newsletter article for the Douglas College Self-Employment Program, from which I am a graduate. I’m sharing it here too – it explains why blog posts have been sparse lately.

Without any employment opportunities appearing on the horizon in the fall of 1998 – no doubt my cerebral palsy and wheelchair scared off potential employers – I plunged into the Self-Employment Program. My business idea was to work with businesses and organizations to improve accessibility of their websites. By making their websites accessible, businesses would increase the number of people, including 10% of the population living with various disabilities, capable of accessing their sites and, in turn, increase their customer base, translating into increased profits. Their corporate image would also improve because no group, including their own employees with disabilities, would be excluded from using the website.

By March, I had landed my first paying project with a local dot com company. My task was to develop guidelines for choosing website colour schemes readable by people who are colour blind. I was to write a report on a topic I knew absolutely nothing about. Fake it till you make it became my new mantra.

Next came a contract for choosing colour schemes to be used on the Government of British Columbia’s website. Seeing my colour schemes on the provincial government’s site, I felt I had accomplished something of significance for those people living with colour blindness.

With those two small projects under my belt, I thought I was on a roll. But I soon realized it was beginner’s luck. Over the years I landed several contracts; some of which were related to web accessibility, many of which were not. However, with these varied projects, my husband and I saved enough for a down payment for a condo, a home we’re still enjoying today.

Over time websites changed and other programming languages were added to the mix. I began feeling this red-headed chick wasn’t geeky enough to keep up with the pace of technology. Although I was still passionate about making websites accessible so that people with disabilities could use and benefit from the web, I was less and less confident that I could provide clients with the depth of expertise they required and that one day I would be “found out”.

Around that time I discovered blogging and set to learning as much as I could.  I was content diving into this exciting, new phenomenon. Yet, paying projects still landed in my lap without needing to chase after them, constantly pulling me back into the web accessibility field.

After a lengthy internal tug-o-war, last year I decided to combine my two passions by bringing the web accessibility concepts and techniques to the blogging community. Since then I have been full speed ahead!

Last week I launched Blog Accessibility Mastermind – a six-lesson online course designed to introduce bloggers to web accessibility. Also on my over-heaping plate are two web accessibility audits to conduct – both repeat clients, one of which is a blogger; two speaker proposals to write for upcoming blogger conferences in the States; and, one presentation on blogging and people with disabilities to prepare for a conference in Virginia – all in less than six weeks!

After struggling at being self-employed for nearly twelve years, I finally have a crystal clear picture and plan of where I am headed; one I am excited and passionate about.

Through this entrepreneurial journey, I’ve learned three important lessons:

  • Being self-employed doesn’t mean always doing things myself. There are ways to collaborate and work with others, even on a thinly worn shoestring budget.
  • To surround myself with supportive and knowledgeable people who I can go to with questions and to act as sounding boards. Likewise, I need to give freely of my own expertise and experience.
  • To be continually learning, whether it be new and innovative marketing strategies, how to use the newest social media tools, or keeping up with changes in web accessibility.

Earlier this week I heard “Entrepreneurship is controlled chaos.” Very true. But, man, what a ride it is! I am glad I’m not stuck at a boring 9-to-5 job!

If you enjoyed this post, consider buying me a chai tea latte. Thanks kindly.

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What I Learned at SOBCon: How to Build a Barn

Filed under: Motivation, Social Media, Work — by Glenda at 1:11 pm on Wednesday, June 16, 2010

SOBCon co-founder Liz StraussLiz Strauss continually shares nuggets of wisdom that leave me pondering and savouring it in my mind until I’ve fully sucked out all of the flavour, all of the meaning. 

During her keynote at this year’s SOBCon (Successful and Outstanding Bloggers Conference), she tossed out another nugget of wisdom:

You’re building a barn, not a coliseum.

Blog Accessibility MastermindI have been pondering, savouring those words since April 30th. While busily building the Blog Accessibility Mastermind course and website over the last few weeks, I’ve realized there are three points to Liz’s words:

1. A barn is not huge.

Coliseums are monstrosities; barns are not. Start with something small.

I had been intending to launch Blog Accessibility Mastermind (BAM) since September, but writing the thirteen lessons was a daunting task and other commitments kept distracting me. Reframing BAM from a 13-lesson comprehensive course to a 6-lesson introductory course made the project more manageable, more doable. The project was then possible to get off the ground; revisions and additions can come later.

2. A barn is solid, not finely polished.

A barn is solidly built and serves it purpose: to house livestock. The walls are not finely sanded and flawlessly painted. This is not imperfection; it’s beauty, in it’s own way.

My main focus is building solid content for the individuals who are kindly paying to learn something new. Although having a forum in which members could discuss course content and share ideas would be nice, finding an accessible forum application and setting it up is time consuming. Using the comment section within the members’ area will work equally as well and is something familiar to the members who are bloggers and know how to interact in the comment section.

3. Actually, it’s a barn raising.

Reminiscing my Little House on the Prairies days, a farmer didn’t build a barn. The community came together to raise barns, with each individual contributing his or her skill or talent.

For someone who, in the past, has tried to do everything herself, to control everything herself, this was the most difficult point to learn. Seeing the strengths and talents in others is easy, but then stepping back to allow them to do what they do best – and accepting how they do it – is the difficult part.

However, in the end, the key to a successful barn raising is accepting the talents and energy from others as gifts and graciously welcoming them into the community. Their wanting to be involved in the project is a testament to the barn being raised.

Once the barn is raised, all those involved join in a celebration meal. Since hosting such a celebration with fried chicken and apple pie isn’t possible virtually, I would like to publicly thank those involved in the raising of Blog Accessibility Mastermind:

  • SOBCon co-founders Liz Strauss and Terry Starbucker for inviting me to present at SOBCon09, which laid the foundation for this barn;
  • The Random Twitter People (aka Paul Merrill, Deb Brown, Becky McCray, and Jon Swanson) for their brainstorming, clarity-finding and kick-butting;
  • Mary-Lynn Foster for her service as a sounding board;
  • Oscar Gonzalez for finding the right tool to make a tedious task a breeze;
  • Jason Teitelman, Tony and the graphic guys at BlogCatalog for the free ad;
  • Charles Pennell for tracking down the "pesky" blue and replacing it with mauve in the sidebar;
  • Miss Dazey for being the official PayPal buy button tester and for her energetic cheerleading;
  • Grant Griffiths for his enthusiastic tweets and support on launch day;
  • Lori-ann Engel for her virtual assistance services – she makes me look good;
  • My childhood friend Karen Tsang for writing a rockin’ sales page with me;
  • To those I may have missed here, thank you for your never-ending support.
  • And, last but definitely not least in any way, my wonderful husband Darrell for his unwavering support, patience and understanding, for keeping me well stocked in chocolate and for the ever increasing runs to Tim Horton’s for a caffeine fix.

When the time comes to raise your barn, you can count on me.

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BAM! Creating a Blogosphere for All

Filed under: Blog Accessibility, Blogging — by Glenda at 9:00 am on Monday, June 14, 2010

Blog Accessibility MastermindAfter a year in the making and too many late nights these past couple of weeks, I am excited to announce that Blog Accessibility Mastermind is being launched today!

Blog Accessibility Mastermind is an innovative online course and mastermind experience, introducing bloggers to the concepts of web accessibility and providing them with easy-to-implement techniques for increasing their blogs’ accessibility to include individuals with disabilities — a whopping 18% of the population.

Without further ado, twelve mentors, peers and friends – Chris Garrett, Liz Strauss, Grant Griffiths, Des Walsh, Mary-Lynn Foster, Terry Starbucker, Tris Hussey, Todd Jordan, John Haydon, Jennison Asuncion, Deb Brown and Duane Storey – have been invited to cut the ribbon via Twitter to officially launch Blog Accessibility Mastermind.

A collage of head shots and red ribbon

Join with me for Blog Accessibility Mastermind to increase your readership and to pioneer a blogosphere for all!

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Living on the Right Road for Success

Filed under: Motivation — by Glenda at 8:29 pm on Saturday, June 5, 2010

A few views from around my neighbourhood this week…

I have been watching these two cranes from my home office window:

Two cranes building high-rise towers

They are fascinating when in operation. The interlocking pattern of triangles, the arms and the pulleys dance when both are in action. With two more towers still to be built, I’ll be fascinated for several more years to come. Does that make me a geek girl?

With the forested lot next our complex now sadly cleared to make room for more housing, the lot now needs to be connected to sewer and water. That means digging up our road:

Backhoe digging up our road

Another backhoe on our road

With more construction slated for our quiet street, navigating around heavy machinery will be necessary for a while.

The road to success is always under constructionHeading into my office this morning to continue building my membership site, the magnet on my board jumped out at me, “The road to success is always under construction”.

I am definitely on the right road to success then!

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