Today is a special day. Learning Dimensions turns three years old! What a wonderful journey the past years have been. In this blog post, I wanted to share a little bit about how Learning Dimensions began, offer a few lessons that I have learned as well as give a brief status report of some of the great accomplishments within these past few years (Note: Excuse the length of this post, but there is so much that I wish to share with you).
My featured picture for this blog post was taken the last day working as a Central Office staff of Chicago Public Schools. Although it is not visible in the picture, my resignation letter was in my bag, the packing boxes were all filled, and the corporate cubicle was fully cleaned. I decided to snap this photo moments before I would walk out of that particular office for the last time. Notice the big smile on my face. This is the smile of a brand new entrepreneur who has no idea what she is getting herself into. In a way, I am glad that I was so naive at that time, because if I would have known how much my life would change from that time, I probably would have not left the comfort of working with a supportive team (the Department of Literacy Social Sciences) who embraced me from my first day working at Chicago Public Schools. That picture was snapped COB on August 15, 2013.
The following Monday, I started my day early (I always was/am an early riser) to head to City Hall (Chicago) to officially launch my consulting business as a full-time enterprise. The only knowledge that I had at the time came from some articles that I printed off of the US Small Business Administration website. I arrived right when the office opened, although I was the first person to arrive, as with the case with city-level bureaucracy, I was told to take a number (number 1 of course) and take a seat in the waiting area.
When I was called to the window, the woman who serviced me was very pleasant (I had heard my fair share of city employee horror stories, I had come to believe them myself, even though just days before, I was one as well). Perhaps, the woman noticed that I was totally clueless and felt it best to show me a lot of compassion. She advised me to see a SCORE business advisor (a volunteer who had a great deal of experience in business who offered business advice and mentorship to start ups). The advisor that I was blessed to see was a late-middle aged man who had a very noticeable tan (from spending a lot of time on his yacht and playing hours of golf) and, like me, was starting his first day on a “new job.” Because he was new, he talked to me way longer than he was suppose to, gave me a lot of handouts, told be my business plan was sound, and offered his business card to me and told me to keep in touch. I am ashamed to say, I did not keep up with that business card and do not know the nice gentlemen’s name. Lesson 1: Hold on to business cards, have a system to file them (i.e., ScanBizCards or any other scanning and filing system), and don’t just collect them, actually reach out to the person within the next 24hrs via email. By the end of that first workday as a “Learning Dimensions” employee, I had a business license, assumed name, opened up a checking account for the business, and deposited my first check.
I will always remember my first day working for Learning Dimensions, and from that first day, I learned another important lesson, Lesson 2: “Do not despise these small beginnings, for the Lord rejoices to see the work begin…” [Zechariah 4:10].
August 15, 2015, so much have happened with Learning Dimensions within such a short period of time. Below are brief highlights of some notable accomplishments of Learning Dimensions (in no particular order of importance):
- Launched website, Learning Dimensions, within four months of existence (to learn more about the company and services offered, click on the link)
- Went from servicing one faithful client to more than 16 amazing clients and educational change agents (thankful that my client base is steadily growing in proportions that are somewhat inconceivable)
- Expanded client services from curriculum designing to adding offerings such as strategic planning and professional development
- Started LEARNtheBrand Impact Apparel, a subsidiary of Learning Dimensions, allowing the educational consultant company to have a hybrid entrepreneurship model: capital-based and social entrepreneurship (Lesson 3: Profit is significant, but making a great impact is equally as important as well)
- I, as the founder and principal educational consultant of Learning Dimensions, have been able to share my entrepreneurial journey through a number of talks, including the TEDxPilsenWomen (TED talk coming soon)
- Started Learning Dimensions: The Blog, dedicated to showcasing the many layers of learning and providing the company a space and opportunity to provide free consultation through helpful tips, redefine the image of learning and advocate for the transformation of education in order to make learning experiences meaningful, relevant and transformative
The last few years have not been easy (my fellow entrepreneurs definitely can identify with me on this observation), but nothing worth doing is (Lesson 4). I have met a lot of creative people who have a passion for leaving a transformative fingerprint in the field of education. I thank all of my supporters and friends of Learning Dimensions, without your backing, I would not have been able to accomplish what has been accomplished to date.
Happy Anniversary Learning Dimensions! I am looking forward to what the next several years will bring. My journey was not fully planned out, I started out with a road map, but somewhere along the way, it was blown out of the window (Lesson 5). When I woke up this morning, the first thought that I had was, “At the end of the day, I am an ordinary person, doing extraordinary things, with the help of extraordinary people (Lesson 6).”