What The Business of Life Skills is All About
Throughout The Business of Life Skills courses, we focus on equipping people with essential skills that will help them succeed not only in their personal lives and society in general, but also throughout their work lives.
Throughout the courses, I cover a range of topics such as,
- Civic responsibilities of an 18-year-old
- Getting a job is more than just the application
- Understanding different types of contracts
- Your obligations for car maintenance, extended warranty or not
- Banking options
- Understanding the legal aspects and challenges of long-term relationships
Whether you have kids or not, kids really are your future as well as mine. As a matter of fact, you might just want to wrap your mind around the fact that eventually they’ll be voting and deciding your lifestyle as you get older. The more they learn about these topics, the better your future looks.
Our three main strategies are to share what I know to be true about how the most common processes work, stay focused on meeting the needs of my students, and build honest, sincere relationships with said students as well as other people who share my passion to prepare kids for life after high school.
All of this really boils down to talking with people. I mean, really talking with them face-to-face. Not on Zoom call, not on a phone call: in person.
After hibernating behind the heading of, “I work from home” for so many years, I don’t think anyone can deny that the best way to get to know people and to build good strong relationships is face-to-face.
This really hit home with me when I recently had the opportunity to teach a few classes at our local high school. After talking with the kids and listening to what they were saying and asking, I discovered that the needs of these kids really hadn’t changed much from the needs of me and my friends back when we were kids in the early 1970’s. Today’s kids still want to know how to get a job, how to buy a car, and how to move out on their own. They also want to know about bank accounts and how to find a good, long-term partner. Fascinating, isn’t it?
In addition to building relationships with these kids, it’s also critical that I create relationships with people who have the same passion and belief that kids really are our future. Whether you like it or not, you’ve got to realize that they’ll be voting and deciding your lifestyle as you get older. So relationships that are critical to my business’ success not only includes (possibly) you as a parent, they include teachers, business owners, and leaders of all types such as politicians, local community leaders, and members of the military.
Do you ever see those memes and posts on social media that say, “Gee, kids should’ve learned this in high school,” or, “Why don’t ‘they’ teach this stuff in high school?” Then you see pictures and read stories of kids who’s cars are getting repo’d because they missed a payment, or they’re buried up to their eyeballs in student loan debt, or they’re getting evicted from their first apartment. It’s heartbreaking sometimes.
Well, “they,” as in the teachers or the schools, don’t teach anyone how to deal with these situations because it’s not really their jobs. And honestly, I don’t think it ever was; at least not as far back as when I was in school in the 60’s and 70’s. So it really is up to parents. But in defense of parents everywhere, it’s hard to know everything about everything and then predict when your kid is going to run into every situation. And then, on top of all that, have your kid actually remember what you told them. So like most kids, myself included, I learned a lot of this stuff by the seat of my pants. I’ll bet you did too.
But what I didn’t realize was how much there was to know until my kids (Jennifer, above, Alan, to the right) started asking me questions about what I thought were basic things like how to create a resume or how to write a check or get an apartment. (Yeah, my son actually had to mail a check for a deposit on his first apartment out of the Marine Corp in 2013. They wouldn’t take a credit card. Unbelievable!)
Then my son’s best friend, Vic, lived with us for a while and started asking a lot of the same questions. I got so tired of repeating myself to him and all my kids’ other friends that I finally decided to just write it all down.
Over the last few years of talking with more and more parents and kids, I realized that I’d actually hit on a nerve and a huge need. So just casually chatting about these skills to whoever would listen, has evolved from being a “nice thing to do,” to a full time passion of mine.
Shifting to the Business of Life was published in 2015 and has done quite well. But, as I mentioned in my business strategies, I realized that sales were always better when I was talking with people face-to-face. So I converted the entire book into ten classes.
Then, last year, with the help of my good friend and tech support guy, Dick Knuth, we built a website and then got all these classes online.
Now I can teach in a classroom, live via Zoom, as well as through self-paced on-line courseware. As much as I prefer classroom teaching, I realize that not everyone learns the same way. So offering these three options fills the needs of most.
Challenges of Yesterday and Tomorrow
Although The Business of Life Skills only became an “official” business this year, it’s been a work in progress since 2015 when Shifting to the Business of Life, was first published. At that time I really had no clue as to how to market and sell a book. But how hard could it be, right? After all, my boss, Ken Blanchard did it, so why couldn’t I? Ha! Famous last words!
Well, over the years I’ve come to realize that technology was changing fast and it was seriously affecting how all this was going to go for me.
For instance, self-publishing was a new thing in 2015 and not very well respected by anyone. Which means that while a lot of writers were moving toward self publishing, the majority of big-box stores, media outlets, and book reviewers weren’t quite warming up to what they thought was a “flash in the pan.” As a result, my sales were struggling.
But, if there was one good thing that came as a result of the Covid shut down, it’s the fact that more and more people turned to technology and eBooks. And Amazon has become the number one dealer in the eBook venue: when it’s on Amazon, the majority of readers don’t care who published the book, they just read the blurb. If it’s interesting, then it’s a sale.
But the other big challenge I see is that while The Business of Life Skills are something that 100% of the people who hear about it love it and think it’s the best thing since sliced bread, it’s still a hard sale. Not with parents so much as with bigger businesses and organizations. I mean businesses such as public schools and libraries, and organizations that serve foster youth and home schooling programs. I’m not sure exactly why that is, but I can hazard a guess:
Many of these types of businesses and organizations are funded by cities, states or the federal government. And it appears to me that as much as politicians say they’re supporting the education of our kids, they have their limits for a variety of reasons. The number one reason being funding. You really have to think about where the money is ultimately coming from in that case and why that’s a barrier. This is something I talk about in my “Income Taxes” class, and will be exploring further in the upcoming “Economics of a Lemonade Stand” course.
With that, let’s turn our attention to some great positives.
The Opportunities I See
On the upside, I’m not discouraged.
First, I get a ton of encouragement from every single parent and grandparent as well as anyone associated with education and, surprisingly enough, the military. Most parents want to see their kids and grandkids succeed and they hate to see them struggle with what used to be called “common sense” issues. Which means Mom and Dad, Grandma and Grandpa will do whatever they can to help and be a part of their success.
Read what parents and students are saying about the book, “Shifting to the Business of Life,” and “The Business of Life Skills” classes at the end of this article.
Another reason I’m encouraged is because over the last few years so many people have gotten comfortable using technology such as online training resources and live training tools such as Zoom. With that, people no longer have to be burdened with the time and expense it takes to travel to attend a classes.
While I still believe that in person, face-to-face training is the most effective and rewarding, that option really can leave a lot of people standing on the sidelines. And I don’t want to do that.
So now, thanks to technology, everyone can learn about The Business of Life Skills in the comfort of their own homes for less than the cost of one semester at a local college.
Lessons Learned and Advice to Share
The lessons I’ve learned in my journey are the foundation for the advice I’d share with anyone who’s planning on starting a business.
Ironically, as I mentioned earlier, I’ve only recently become an “official” business with a business license and business cards. My journey though, is seven and a half years long. My son tells me I now have a seven year business and marketing degree.
“Mom,” he says, “you could’ve gone to college and gotten here faster.”
Yes, that’s true. However, after raising two kids on my own, money wasn’t something I had in abundance. Besides, where would the fun be in that? Ha!
Seriously though, without learning how to first define my goals and then break them down into bite sized, more manageable pieces, I was struggling. For seven years.
So my first bit of advice would be to save yourself some time by setting a goal and then laying out the steps as to how you’re going to make it happen.
Next, I’d say stay focused on all aspects of your business and then keep the faith in yourself and your product. In other words, take yourself and your business seriously.
In my case, I’ve always believed in my products, but until this year I don’t think I ever really thought of myself as a “real” business owner. As a result I was never really focused on any one thing.
For example up until I got my business license, I had eight different websites where I was selling a variety of products and services. So the idea of putting all my energy into just one of my side hustles finally just “clicked” in my brain when I finally decided to go through the process of getting a license in January 2023. As part of that process I was required to create an official name for the business and come up with a short business description.
This process really made me stop and think. And to start taking myself seriously. Which as I said, is probably the biggest key to being successful:
Take yourself and your business seriously.
Because if you don’t, no one else will.
Janet (Jan) M. Nast
Founder and Owner: The Business of Life Skills
email: [email protected]
What Parents and Teachers are Saying
“I have seen many people show up to the Fleet in the Marine Corps that would strongly benefit from this book. They often have little to no idea how to conduct themselves as adults in regards to their finances, living arrangements, lines of credit and their effect on other peoples’ lives. People that are transitioning from high school to the adult world should read this during their student career.”
Sergeant Jason D. Paul – United States Marine Corps (and a Dad)
“You know those responsibilities you just don’t quite have a grasp on yet? Like filing your W-2 forms, or balancing your checking account, or registering to vote? Well, this book covers it all. Perfect timing for your first taste of independence – it even touches on tattoos and piercing etiquette in job interviews!”
Becker College Admissions Team – Becker College.
“Girl, you touched on everything that a child need to know when they graduate! You couldn’t have written a better book! And I don’t think there’s one out there like this, anywhere.”
Cheryl Owen – Mom, Trenary, MI.
“I can’t tell you how much I appreciated reading your book! As I read it, I couldn’t help but think about the people who cross my path. This book needs to be in the hands of EVERY high school graduate! Thank you Jan, for such enlightenment to so many!”
Sabrina Reesor – Mom, Realtor, Realty One Group Southwest
“My friend Jan wrote this book – for sale on Amazon, blatant plug! LOL. For all my FB friends who have a teenager or young adult, I recommend this as a grad gift or a stocking stuffer. Not only is it a good “hint,” it’s a lot of sound advice for those about to enter the real world! So proud of you Jan Nast!”
Galene Thayer – Mom, Corporate Instructor Extraordinaire
What My Students Are Saying
“You did amazing! It was a good presentation and would love to hear more!”
Shayleen O. – High School Student
“This information was very helpful. I liked her style and the way she spoke to us.”
Emma S. – High School Student
“This was a very good presentation. I learned a lot of useful information. Thank you for presenting. It was really good.”
Emma T. – High School Student
“You were very good! This was very interesting and learned a lot. Great presentation.”
Agistin L. – High School Student
“I really enjoyed this lecture. Your presentation was really easy to follow and I did not get bored.”
Jessica G. – High School Student
“It was fun and engaging. I really enjoyed the class.”
Kameron B. – High School Student
“Your explaining was perfect. I loved how you included yourself as an example/ shared your experience!”
Laialana H. – High School Student
“It was informal and very well put together. It was fun and easy to remember and digest.”
Christian B. – High School Student
“Good! It was nice to come and teach us life tips and allow us to ask questions.”
Dominic F. – High School Student
“You did a good presentation that was useful.”
Zachary V. – High School Student
“I think the presentation was amazingly executed and very informal. Thank you!”
Mycaella A. – High School Student
“Thank you for coming. You have opened my eyes to the real world.”
Kelsi J. – High School Student