How a Narrow Focus Leads to Wider Opportunities

STEAMTASTICALLY SOCIAL

Andrew and Pete literally changed my business. No exaggeration. Or as they say in here in Liverpool… “No word of a lie”. Let me explain.

My career spans tech and education. For the last twelve years, I have been working in education, creating and leading new schools specialising in entrepreneurship and STEM skills. I infamously created the first geek school in the UK and was named one of the top 100 video games industry as a result.

When I left full-time employment to help schools on a consultancy basis, I had a dream to create an online community for geeky kids.

However, I never quite hit the sweet spot until I created Steam School in January 2018, which started out in a very humble way as a virtual after school club, broadcasting interviews with inspirational people from the world of science, tech and digital media.

For the next five months, I continued to fulfil consultancy commitments, develop Steam School into a truly awesome project and chase after every shiny object possible. In my head, Steam School was such a great concept that schools would buy it, parents, homeschoolers and work-based learning providers too. I researched each market diligently – making connections on LinkedIn- getting ready to make it big in multiple markets.

I AM NOT SUPERWOMAN

I neglected to remember that I still had consultancy commitments, I am single mum, aside from some dedicated freelance support, essentially I am a solo entrepreneur, with very big dreams. But, I continued, found Andrew and Pete and started their excellent membership. I created my plan, still thinking that somehow I could operate in multi markets. And then I tried to implement it… WOAH! I hit myself with overwhelm, too much work and too many mixed messages. It was so much work and confusion, I just had to stop, take a deep breath and focus.

A BIG LEAP

Next, I decided to focus on one market, schools. I spent June and July creating the foundations for a truly awesome business, meeting with influencers, local authorities, STEM communities. Most of my marketing to date was focused on Linkedin. I looked at my 10,000 + connections and they were a reflection of my shiny object syndrome. So I spent the large  part of a weekend, ditching 6000 connections. I wanted to build a truly engaged tribe of senior education decision makers. So if I didn’t know someone personally,  done business with them or would like to…they where ditched. It has made a massive impact on engagement and attracting my ideal client avatar for Steam School. 80% of people signing up to my mailing list are from the independent and international sector – a key target market. 

THE MAGIC FORMULA

Moving into the new academic year, I have a fantastic marketing plan, thanks to Andrew and Pete, ready to hit my target of 100 schools. I have a weekly email digest called STEAMTASTIC SUNDAYS for teachers and parents, filled with STEAM education related news and events and snippets of free Steam School content. On a 121 call with Andrew and Pete, we talked about how to get around the problem of having to meet every school before they subscribe. I now have a weekly #behindthescence tour for educators to take a look at the programme in more detail and to ask questions. Two really simple activities I can do with minimum effort. My proposition has undergone a total makeover, take a look at my website and you will see that I have clearly communicated the values and ethos of Steam School, which is a key focus of my content strategy moving forward.

THE JOURNEY TO 100 SCHOOLS.

100 schools is my big hairy goal…deadline set for 27th October 2018. I have released myself from consultancy contracts to focus and whilst I have more time, (LOL), I am going to use Facebook and Instagram to target homeschooling families, whilst focusing on Twitter and Linkedin for networking with educators. Because I AM SUPERWOMAN!!!!!

 

 

Steam School (www.steam-school.com) was founded by former school leader, Jade Parkinson-Hill. For the past 12 years Jade has been involved in launching and leading new schools across the North West. Most notably, in 2015, Jade was named one of the ‘top 100 women in video games’ in recognition of her role in establishing the UK’s first ‘geek’ school in Liverpool.

Jade has been interviewed on TV, radio and the press, including the BBC, Radio 4 and The Times Education Supplement talking about her passions of tech and entrepreneurship, in particular, motivating and supporting young entrepreneurs.

After leaving school leadership in 2016, Jade supported STEM schools in England as a consultant. It was at this time that the idea for Steam School was born.