It's getting harder and harder to come up with exclamation-point-worthy blog headlines. This one was a doozy.
Does it seem macabre to look forward to a 4-part lecture series on the bubonic plague? Maybe not if you look at it through the lens of Connections - the 1970s BBC series that "took an interdisciplinary approach to the history of science and invention, and demonstrated how various discoveries, scientific achievements, and historical world events were built from one another successively in an interconnected way to bring about particular aspects of modern technology."
Here, for example, are 10 Good Things We Got From the Black Death. That's how I'm looking at it, anyway. Check out the full syllabus for the program that starts on May 15 at the University Club, and I hope you'll sign up to learn more about The Black Death in History.
Shortly after I launched CMR Communications, I was invited to be a panelist for “Thayer Day” at SUNY Purchase. I spent April 2nd on the campus and enjoyed presentations from outstanding seniors in the State University of New York system in visual arts, theater, video, music, dance and spoken word.
More photos and clips of the students work are in the presentation below. Let me know if you like it!
Go to this Sway
I had a call today from a friend with questions about the New York State Department of Labor’s SEAP - the Self Employment Assistance Program, so I thought I’d share my experience.
According to a Mathematica Policy Research report issued in January, 2017:
Individuals who lose their jobs may have the skills and desire to start their own businesses. Some states have taken action to help unemployed workers create their own jobs by establishing Self-Employment Assistance (SEA) programs, which allow Unemployment Insurance (UI) eligible individuals who meet SEA program requirements to receive a weekly self-employment allowance while they are setting up their businesses. This allowance is equal in amount and duration to regular UI benefits. SEA program participants are also exempted from actively seeking wage and salary jobs so they can devote their energies to self-employment activities while they receive SEA allowances.
This is a long way of saying – the NYS DOL is giving me training wheels for my business!
I received a letter from the NYS Department of Labor on New Year’s Eve, inviting me to apply for SEAP. Seemed like a sign from the universe – instead of going back to work for someone, I’d become a solopreneur!
Here’s the timeline:
Enrollment in SEAP lets you work on your business, but at the same time, requires you to complete 20 hours of training, meet (at least twice) with a business mentor, and submit five benchmark forms. The timeline SEAP provided for benchmarks was:
I’m pleased to report that – as of yesterday - I’ve completed all training and submitted all benchmark forms to fulfill my SEAP requirements! Here’s the list of trainings I completed – all online. SCORE and the US SBA have helpful resources!
Drop me a line if you would like to share advice or if I can tell you more about SEAP!
In January, 2016, I hatched a plan for February 29 - Leap Day. As past President of the University Club of Albany, I gathered a group of female business owners for a program called LEAP IN: Entrepreneurship and the Power of Peer Support. The panel discussion featured successful business owners who made the leap outside their comfort zones to start and grow their own businesses. Each panelist shared stories about her business journey, her successes and failures, and the support she’s received from – and given to – other business owners. (We were SEEN in the Times Union!)
Now, I’m following my own advice! After parting ways with my employer of 15+ years at the end of October, I took a “gap quarter” to figure out whether I wanted to find another job – or build a new way of life. I decided on the latter.
So, I’m launching my own consulting firm – CMR Communications. The ink is still wet on my DBA, but I’ve already been talking to prospective clients and am excited to share this news.
I’ll be adding more details about my plans, my services, and my own experiences – but I’d like to hear from you! What advice would you offer a solopreneur? Drop me a line! I’ll look forward to hearing from you – and will share updates as time permits!
Colleen M. Ryan is an