My Current Situation

I work part time for a sports admin sales team and I am currently furloughed due to Covid-19 until sporting events and team training commence again. Having been furloughed from 23rd March I knew I needed to use this time to keep my mind active and it would also be a health distraction from watching the News.
I simply love to learn. I was that geek at school and university who craved the information, thrived in an educational setting, and loved the fact that conversation could be made around this learning from differencing opinions to great debates and everything relevant in between.
Whilst I’m hoping this isn’t the case, being furloughed can possibly mean that there is no real certainty that a job will be there in the future once the furlough support period ends. I do have my fingers crossed though that for me, when sports start back, my job will be there for me.
The financial implication of Covid-19 on businesses is massive so whilst redundancy sounds negative, I wanted to be prepared for every possibility. If the situation were to arise that I needed to apply for another job and went to an interview I would 100% expect the first question asked to be:  
“How have you made use of your time during this?”
or
“What have you done to educate yourself in the last 10+ weeks?”
  and I want to be prepared with positive answers for these key questions.
I graduated from Queen’s University, Belfast with a business management degree and I am experienced in retail management but businesses are also ever changing with technology so I am keen to brush up on my skill set and keep processes and procedures at the forefront of my mind. The dream was always to have my own business but the climate was just never on my side. Throughout lockdown I have been encouraged from all angles – from my learning journey to listening to motivational podcasts to make this dream my reality.
I have been exploring starting my own freelance business as a content writer ‘on the side’ of what is my day to day job. I absolutely love to write, especially blogs, I have been an active blogger since 2015, so I have been educating myself on the ins and outs of this via different free resources on offer at the minute from webinars to The Open University free courses  – Open Learn and Future Learn to Pinterest articles about sourcing freelance writing jobs and I even enrolled in an accredited Digital Marketing short course via York St John University that I seen on LinkedIn and completed a ‘Writing for Social Media’ course that I found on Edx.org via TrainingMatchmaker.com
Everyday is literally a school day and what better time to avail of these free resources.   Training Matchmaker  has been great to source a lot of information in one space as has the Make it Click portal.

My Learning Goals

Managing my Calendar:

At the minute whilst trying to juggle and spin a lot of plates there has never been a more appropriate time to get organised. At the minute I use a calendar page I have printed out and this is pinned on a cork board at home and that’s because I just haven’t spent enough time investigating how google calendar, outlook calendar or even how the iPhone calendar works on my phone. My husband uses a calendar for work daily so I thought we could sync our Microsoft calendars together to work more efficiently and plan out the month ahead accordingly.

Online security:

This year will be the first year that both my children will be in full time education and I will have a couple of hours to myself. I plan to use this time to work on my blog and I am currently in the process of launching my own freelance writing website, as if one job wasn’t enough! This will involve me being out and about at different locations so Online safety is paramount. From sharing information, to emails, to using public WIFI I need to up my game on how I can protect all this information from others hacking into my system or being able to obtain information via unprotected WIFI hot spots.

Presentations and Spreadsheets

My Microsoft office skills were pretty good during my A Level Information Technology days but that was a long time ago! My presentation skills via Power Point and the ability to create spread sheets are lacking and I will really need to know how to deliver these moving forward with my new change in career for clients. From adding in images, to templates, charts, tables  and invoicing I need to bring my skill level up to date and gain some more knowledge in how to execute these.

Creating a new website

I do currently have a website for personal use with my blog but I need to set up a business one for my freelance work. To be honest five years ago when Henn at Home was born I created it without really looking into all the different functions a blog could offer so I’m currently in the process of updating my website and also creating a new one for the business I aspire to launch now this year.

Working from home

When I hear those words I tend to think of creating an office space that I feel comfortable about which is away from distractions but there is so much more to it and this time at home furloughed has opened my eyes to that. I need to know how to operate Zoom for personal and business use, how to attend and host a webinar, how to use the hot spot on my phone for internet should I need it and how to run my own customer management system (CRM) which is effectively my ‘To Do’ list so I can meet deadlines and know where I am workwise by the end of each day to help with planning ahead. In fact the list is endless, definitely so much more than a comfortable desk chair it would seem.  

Content Creation

Through completing online training signposted on Make it Click (- there is a multitude of choices to further develop my social media skills) alongside other notable course providers such as Hubspot, Edx.org, Disney Pixar and Google Digital Garage I aim to have grown both my competence and confidence to a level where I will move forward with the creation and launch of a business that will provide me with supplementary income. My current employment contract is part time and as the kids should be going into school I will have extra time to focus on my career goal of running a content creation business that helps others keep on top of their content needs – I aim to offer a blog for business service and provide graphics  using one of my favourite tools: canva as well as social media content to help busy business owners improve their online footprint.
In the past year I have successfully delivered this service for a number of brands and I am looking forward to being contracted to help more organisations post content that engages audiences and delivers results. – Written by Jillian – do feel free to join me on my journey or contact me to see what services I could offer your business.    

About me

My name is Jillian Henning. I live in Northern Ireland, work part time in administrative sales and I am a lifestyle blogger at www.hennathome.com focusing around family, travel, reading, content creation and lots of bits in between. I have a love of all things Social Media. I live for the community that I’ve built on Instagram, the traffic driven from Pinterest to my website, breaking news on Twitter and leading industry articles on LinkedIn. Being furloughed from work has given me the time to dedicate to learning again, to keep my brain and mind engaged whilst at home, in between home schooling a six year old and trying to refrain a three year old from wrecking the house I continually tidy!
You can follow along with me on my social handles below:
The reality of my learning journey – you will often find me working on the laptop with a child or two on my lap:
If you want to read more of my writing another blog post which I created recently is 7 activities keeping me sane through lockdown
If you are inspired by my learning story please do feel free to share on social media – you can add the hashtags: #GetLearningNI #GetBloggingNI #MakeItClick and #TrainingMatchmaker.  
If you would like to get started or reinvigorate your learning journey you too can guest blog for TrainingMatchmaker.com – contact us

About TrainingMatchmaker.com:

With a mission to ‘inspire learning’ – trainingmatchmaker.com signposts aspiring learners to thousands of free online learning opportunities. It is also a platform where active trainers across Northern Ireland can come together as a community.

About the Make It Click project:

The ‘Make It Click‘ programme aims to help adults achieve positive life and work outcomes, particularly around employment, by supporting them to understand how digital skills can change their life, and give the practical skills and knowledge to build their confidence to do so. Make It Click is a collection of online learning resources and TrainingMatchmaker.com as an online centre of Good Things Foundation will, throughout the course of 2020, take active steps to enable and support over 100 learners to build their digital skills. This project is funded by Google.org. To find out more or to chat to us about partnering with us or to become join as an active learner like Debra contact us

About Learn My Way:

Learn My Way is a website of free online courses, built by Good Things Foundation to help people develop their digital skills.

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