Do It Myself Blog – Glenda Watson Hyatt

Motivational Speaker

Now Where is Glenda Off To?

Filed under: Work — by at 3:09 pm on Sunday, June 19, 2011

For a change of scenery, I am writing this post from the noisy plane en route to Toronto – my first trip “back east”. This trip is not to attend a conference for a change, but rather to conduct an on-site web accessibility review for a client, which is what I do in my day job.

For the last thirteen years, since embarking on this self-employed, solopreneur journey, I have worked from the comforts of home; oftentimes, without meeting my clients face-to-face. Working in a cubicle for nearly two weeks will definitely be a change of pace – one I’m viewing as an opportunity to view life from the other side of the employment fence.

Having other people within sight will be a welcomed departure from the solo aspect of solopreneurship. The noise and other distractions of cubicle-dwelling, on the other hand, will probably test my ability to focus and concentrate. And, I’m not sure what I’ll without my CFO (Chief Feline Officer) holding down my papers and mooching for treats. But, the toughest part, at least for the first few days, may prove to be getting up at 6am eastern time – 3am my body time.

By the time I fly home on the 30th, I will have a better idea whether I am missing out on much, except for a regular paycheque, by taking the road less travelled.

Update: Yesterday’s flight was uneventful. My scooter arrived in one piece, although I had wait an hour for it to arrive in the baggage area (read: another hour without access to a washroom). I caught a wheelchair accessible taxi without a lengthy wait. The hotel room is adequately accessible (for me). And I’ve scoped out the route to the office. I am on a roll…!

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

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What Books Do You Recommend for Saturday University?

Filed under: Work — by at 5:16 pm on Sunday, May 15, 2011

Construction of our new City Centre Public Library – the second largest in the Lower Mainland – began a year ago.

Construction of City Centre Library begins

Construction is nearly completed! The library will apparently open in August. The Official Grand Opening Celebration is scheduled for Saturday, September 24th, 2011.

City Centre Library nearly completed

I eagerly await!

i haven’t been lost in the stacks for hours, reading bits n pieces of what I discovered, since my university years, many moons ago. Darrell’s and mine first “date” was at the Vancouver Library. (That’s another story!)

Once the library opens, I am beginning Saturday University – an idea I’m borrowing from my friend Paul Merrill. Rather than spending mega bucks getting a Masters degree, Paul spent a few hours each Saturday at a local cafe, reading the books he wanted to and then found ways to implement the relevant nuggets in his own life and business. I love that idea!

I am looking forward to reading the books that people have mentioned to me and the ones I’ve seen but haven’t had a chance to read yet.

The thing is: I haven’t been keeping a list of these books. Ooops! The ones to readily come to mind are:

  • The Purple Cow by Seth Godin
  • Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action by Simon Sinek (the free preview was fascinating)
  • The E-Myth Revisited: Why Most Small Businesses Don’t Work and What to Do About It by Michael E. Gerber
  • Tell to Win: Connect, Persuade, and Triumph with the Hidden Power of Story by Peter Guber (again, the sample was intriguing prospect

What books do you recommend to flesh out my Saturday University reading list? Everyone is welcomed to read along.

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The iPad: My Ticket to SXSW!

Filed under: Blog Accessibility,Traveling with a Disability,Work — by at 4:16 pm on Monday, November 8, 2010

SXSW: South by SouthWest Music & Film, Interactive

Thank you to everyone who supported my proposal to South by Southwest (SXSW) Conference!

Breaking News…

I am off to Austin, Texas, in March 2011! Yes!

This morning the second round of 2000 SXSW sessions was announced. My presentation title The untapped iPad Market: Is Your Site POUR? is on the list!

Presentation Description

For the masses, the iPad is the latest, hottest, must-have toy. But, for people with disabilities the iPad is life changing: enabling communication, unlocking minds and fostering independence. However in purchasing these devices lays the challenge: oftentimes websites with product information are inaccessible to this market, which has a discretionary spending power of $175 billion in the United States alone.

The session’s goals are to identify some barriers people with disabilities regularly face, making it difficult to participate fully online; explain the four guiding principles of what makes blogs and websites accessible; and offer key questions to begin asking and what resources exist to make sites more accessible to this under tapped market. By giving short vignettes of how people with disabilities are using iPads, faces are put to the size of this disability market – and putting faces to the need for web accessibility. This brings alive the technical requirements and guiding principles of web accessibility.

Questions Answered
  1. How is the iPad life-changing for many people with disabilities?
  2. What is the size of the disability market and its spending power?
  3. What are the barriers people with disabilities face online?
  4. What are the four guiding principles to creating accessible websites and blogs?
  5. Where do I start in making my website or blog accessible?

Now the work begins…

Thanks again everyone for your support! I am truly blessed.

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 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 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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