The Six Month Milestone

Today I celebrate six months of self employment as I work towards setting up a coding school for kids and young teens here in Salisbury. I can honestly say that each pupil that’s come through First Coding has been so creatively brilliant, it’s such a shame that they struggle to find an outlet. This is why the business has adapted quickly to meet this need and as a result has led me down some fun and interesting routes: creating online resources, giving talks in schools and training teachers to name just a few. The hugest of thanks to everyone who has helped me get here, I’ll be raising a drink to you all later.

First Coding - Salisbury's first coding school

Now I’m no expert, trust me but I’ve been asked if I could detail some points that the last six months have taught me about running a business. So in no particular order…

1. Summarise your business benefits in three points. This will keep you focused.
2. No matter how hard you prepare before you take the bold step into the world of self employment, cashflow will always be a problem to start with.
3. A service is easier to sell than a product.
4. There is never enough money available for marketing.
5. Word of mouth referrals are invaluable to building a sustainable client base.
6. The quality of your work will speak for itself.
7. Say yes to any opportunity that presents itself but remain focused.
8. A favour done for the right reasons will pay dividends down the line.
9. Write a daily to-do list and tackle the worst task of the day first.
10. There is a huge amount of inspirational quotes for every problem you will face. Just remember one – Be the most positive person in the room at all times.
11. Never forget the impact a new business will have on your family. The work-life balance is something that will never be achieved but consider what the change will have on others around you.
12. There is always going to be competition. Remember to tackle it logically and not emotionally.

Now where’s that bottle opener?

 

 

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Minecraft and Code

This week saw me visit the Bett Show which is an educational tech exhibition held in London’s ExCel Centre. The show is massive to say the least and in order to get the most out of my visit I put together a list of some of the people I wanted to talk to. At the top of my list was Microsoft and the work they’re doing to with their Minecraft Education Edition. I spent a great deal of time talking to them about ways I can incorporate Minecraft into my coding courses and came away feeling very encouraged along with a couple of really good ideas about how to take things forward.

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Integrating coding into Minecraft is easy and fun with the Code Builder which is based around the visual coding platforms such as Scratch that most of us are familiar with. This really simplifies the process of using code to manipulate the virtual world and offers an easy progression process when pupils are ready.

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I also spent time with Google and the Raspberry Pi Foundation, again looking at ways to integrate their products into First Coding courses. Both stands were incredibly interesting to spend time with.

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Other highlights include meeting a number product designers that I’m a huge fan of and have followed and read about them for years. Oh, and I also got to play and see inside the largest working Gameboy in the world. It’s surprisingly similar to how I made my arcade cabinet and I’m now wondering how one goes about breaking a world record.

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A Long Way for a Loaf of Bread

We paid a visit to one of the nearby hills, Gold Hill in Shaftsbury. It was made famous when it was featured in an ld Hovis advert. I’ve been here before but many years ago when I was small and I remember the crowds of people that would gather for a photograph. I also recall a massive gift shop at the top, selling bread related wares. It’s not there anymore and neither are the crowds. It would be good to return in the summer though

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Salisbury’s New Coding Club for Kids

This week saw the first code club for kids in Salisbury. It’s progressed from a school club to a village club and now the club is being trialled in Salisbury. I had ten great kids attend, all with different abilities and ideas. We made a Space Invaders game which was a lot of fun.
My interactive BB8 droid is making an appearance in the next lesson as I’ll be showing the kids how to a build chatbot.

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