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  • off topic - starting our business!

    So I know this is totally off topic, but since you are all my "family" I thought I'd do a little update. Some of you may already know, that my husband and I are starting a business.

    This process started in January, when I had an epiphany. I was about a year into my culinary burnout (18 years teaching for the program I used to run, and just SO over it all), so I was here, taking random science classes, fooling around with career changes, changing my career changes, dropped out of 7 graduate programs in 14 months (is that a record? ) and found my way onto one of those What Color is Your Parachute type sites. My dilemma was that I loved my field, I love cooking/cheffing, I love teaching culinary, and and I used to have my dream job. I just hated THIS job. THIS job, however, was the only one of it's kind in town, and there isn't any justification to move...so when it asked something like "what would you do with your life if you won the lottery" I answered "I'd start my own damn culinary school." In that split second, I wondered if I could do it without winning the lottery? Well, I'm going to give it a shot!

    I won't droll on and on, but I've been working on my concept and doing research since about the minute it hit me. I traveled to other privately owned culinary schools in other parts of the United States, met the owners and found wonderful mentors. I've been building the curriculum and concept at a good pace for the past few months. I'm nearly done. I'm going to visit my local SCORE office and get some feedback / guidance on a few parts I don't understand, and go from there. If all goes well, I should have funding by this time next month! Is that crazy or what????

    Despite owning the domain, we don't yet have a website - I was going to give the name, but I'll wait until we get our site. I have a million plates spinning in the air, and I don't think this is even the start of it all!

    In a nutshell, we'll have a 6 month culinary diploma program for enrolled students and recreational courses on weekends. I hope to get my courses ACE evaluated so students can get college credit, and I hope to get national accreditation so they can get student loans/pell grants-----that's a big expensive deal and we have to be open for 2 years before we can even apply, but that's a goal. At some point, I'm going to incorporate theory-based distance learning options, likely continuing education for professional certification, but that's wayyy wayyyy off too. I'm just trying to figure out which way is up at this point.

    So, if you tolerated my raving, thank you. I seriously have had to keep this completely confidential (it's a small world) and I needed to tell someone!! I am sooo excited, nervous, self-doubting, self-confident....you get the idea. When the time comes that we launch our site, I'll post it here (with permission) for y'all to check out
    Jennifer
    10-year member

    MS Nutrition, 2014 Canisius College, Buffalo, NY
    BA Social Science, 2008 Thomas Edison State University, Trenton, NJ
    AA General Studies, 2008 Thomas Edison State University, Trenton, NJ
    AOS Culinary Arts,1990 Culinary Institute of America, Hyde Park, NY

    Homeschooling for College Credit (blog)
    Homeschooling for College Credit (book)

  • #2
    Wow! Wow! Wow! I had no idea that is what you have been starting. It sounds like a wonderful combination of your interests. I wish you so much success and enjoyment in this project!! Thanks for sharing this with us and be sure to let us know how things are progressing.
    AS in 2010 and BS in 2013 at Excelsior College - Transcripts and Costs

    Next Goal - Sharing Credit-by-Exam* & Graduate School - MS = 8 done + 4 to take = Getting There!!!!!!!!

    Resources Used - 20+ Exams Passed & General GRE

    Practice Tests - Available for CLEP and DSST

    * Link posted with permission from forum admin; thank you!

    Comment


    • #3
      How very exciting! It sounds like your dream job, and it will be YOUR business. I love your entrepreneurial spirit!
      Testing CreditsALEKS- Beginning Algebra, CLEP Intro Psychology, CLEP Principles of Management, CLEP Principles of Marketing, CLEP Info Systems & Computer App, CLEP Intro Sociology, CLEP Analyzing & Interpreting Literature, DSST Environment & Humanity, DSST Here's to Your Health, DSST Organizational Behavior, DSST Personal Finance, DSST Substance Abuse, DSST Supervision
      Class Credits
      English Composition 1, English Composition 2, Nutrition, Intercultural Communications, Introduction to Business, US History 2, College Algebra, HR Management, Professional Selling, Consumer Behavior, Managing Organizational Change, Art Appreciation, Music Appreciation, Statistics

      Comment


      • #4
        I recommend putting up a free video class ASAP (a series of videos). You need to establish yourself as a subject matter expert. If you can use the kitchen of your current job that would allow you to create some very professional looking videos. Just make sure you can't get fired for using their kitchen, or post after you quit you job.

        I would also think about making the biz heavily focused on web based learning from the start. It is probably a lot cheaper in terms of overhead.

        Good luck!

        Comment


        • #5
          Exciting stuff!!! Congrats. I'm going to throw you a curve, but bear with me.

          A partner of mine (in another business) was just offered $5 million for his business + they want him to continue to run the business at full salary and they want to pump another $5 million into expanding the company. Why??? EVERYONE with money is trying to find new ways to earn 10% return on their money right now. This company (representing venture capitalists) doesn't want to run company's they want to earn a return on investing in them.

          Makes perfect sense in this economy....and it is unlikely to change anytime soon.

          I know this is your dream, but you should consider the possibility of building it and selling it. That is how you make money.

          The other thing you should consider (after SCORE has helped/critiqued the business plan and if funding becomes an issue) is to take on a partner (under 50%) who knows you, is familiar with the education concept and has deep pockets that is currently only earning 1-2%. There are probably 5-6 people on the other board who qualify and would, if it was presented properly, invest. I'm serious.

          Good luck, you can do it!!!
          Excelsior - BS Business 2008
          Son #1 TESC BSBA Computer Information Systems completed June 2010
          Son #2 TESC BA Computer Science completed November 2010
          Florida State (FSU) Masters CS 2013

          Comment


          • #6
            Good luck! Wishing you success!
            - STG
            Intro to Sociology 51|Biology 54|Intro to Psychology 61
            College Algebra A

            124 credits: B.A Social Sciences DONE in 14 months; August 2011
            "The pessimist sees difficulty in every opportunity. The optimist sees opportunity in every difficulty"- Winston Churchill

            Comment


            • #7
              Good luck cook! I'm really glad to hear this is coming to fruition for you! I have every confidence you will make it a big success!
              MBA, Western Governors University February 2014
              BS Charter Oak State College November 2011
              AS in EMS August 2010

              I'm always happy to complete the free application waiver for those applying to WGU (I get a free gift from WGU for this). Just PM me your first/last name and a valid email so I can complete their form.

              Thread; COSC AS using FEMA http://www.degreeforum.net/excelsior...000-total.html

              Comment


              • #8
                Wow that is so exciting!!!! I agree with Andy3000 about the internet push. When you have your web designed, make sure you're working with someone who really understands what you're trying to do and who is good with SEO. (Search Engine Optimization) If you are well optimized, it can save you a fortune in advertising.

                Also consider that we are in a great time for small businesses and free advertising. Social media can be such a great equalizer. If you do your homework, a good Facebook or LinkedIn page can make you just as popular as a school that's twice as large. Speaking of LinkedIn, Are you on LinkedIn? Are you connecting with people that might be able to help you? Are you spreading the word about yourself on your own personal FB page?

                Can't wait to hear more!!
                Regis University, ITESO, Global MBA in Emerging Markets 4.0 GPA
                COSC BS, Business Admin

                Completed
                Spanish 80 | Humanities 67 | A & I Lit 72 | Sub Abuse 452 | Bus Ethics 445 | Tech Writ 62 | Math 53 | HTYH 454 | Am. Govt 65 | Env & Humanity 64 | Marketing 65 | Micro 61| Mgmt 63| Org Behavior 65| MIS 446|Computing 432 | BL II 61 | M&B 50 | Finance 411 | Supervision 437| Intro Bus. 439| Law Enforcement 63| SL: Accounting I B | Accounting II C+| Macro A | ECE: Labor Relations A | Capstone: A| FEMA PDS Cert |
                Harvard Medical Dept of Continuing Education- Toxicology: Certificate of Participation

                Comment


                • #9
                  Yay Cook!! That is so awesome. I'll be waiting to check out your website. Good luck with the rest of the work you have to do to get it finished!
                  CLEP:
                  West. Civ I - 65, A&I Literature - 66, Biology - 65, Chemistry - 55, Nat. Sciences - 64, US History I - 68, Am. Literature - 61, US History II - 62, Am. Gov. - 67, Macroecon. - 63, Microecon. - 75, College Comp. - 66, Prin. of Marketing - 68, Prin. of Management - 71

                  DSST:
                  Civil War and Reconst. - 70, Prin. of Supervision - 443, Intro to World Religions - 477, Intro to Business - 443, Human Resource Mgmt - 64, Intro to Computing - 458, Prin. of Fin. Accounting - 80, Business Ethics & Society - 447, Prin. of Finance - 437

                  ALEKS:
                  Int. Algebra, College Algebra, Precalculus, Intro to Stats., Business Stats.

                  SAYLOR:
                  Corp. Communications - 78%, Business Law and Ethics - 76%

                  PENN FOSTER:
                  Managerial Acct. - 96, Int. Acct. 1 - 98, Int. Acct. 2 - 87, Cost Acct. - 94, Strategic Bus. Mngt. - 95

                  ADAMS STATE:
                  Auditing - 89

                  LSU:
                  Advanced Acct. - B

                  TECEP:
                  Federal Income Taxation

                  120/120 completed ~ BSBA Accounting

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Very cool... congrats! We will all need to sign up for some classes once you're all set up and ACE approved! I know I could stand to take some remedial cooking classes if you were to offer those.
                    Goal: BS (BA or OL) from COSC by EOY 2013

                    ALEKS (4 credits)
                    Beginning Algebra (P), College Algebra (P)
                    CLEP (12 credits)
                    Information Systems & Computer Applications (80/P), Analyzing & Interpreting Literature (76/P), Principles of Marketing (75/P)
                    DSST (3 credits)
                    Management Information Systems (467/P)
                    STRAIGHTERLINE
                    English Composition I (nearly done), Accounting I (in progress)
                    FEMA (10 credits)
                    PDS + more

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Wow, what an awesome venture, use of your knowledge and skills!! Congratulations to both of you!!! Whoo Hooo!!
                      "Setting a goal is not the main thing. It is deciding how you will go about achieving it and staying with that plan." -Tom Landry

                      TESC:
                      AAS, Admin Studies. 2010
                      BA, Social Sciences. 2010. Arnold Fletcher Award.
                      AAS, Environmental, Safety & Security Technologies. 2011
                      BSBA, General Management. 2011. Arnold Fletcher Award. Sigma Beta Delta (ΣΒΔ)!

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by andy3000
                        I recommend putting up a free video class ASAP (a series of videos). You need to establish yourself as a subject matter expert. If you can use the kitchen of your current job that would allow you to create some very professional looking videos. Just make sure you can't get fired for using their kitchen, or post after you quit you job.

                        I would also think about making the biz heavily focused on web based learning from the start. It is probably a lot cheaper in terms of overhead.

                        Good luck!

                        Excellent idea, however "I" won't be doing culinary instruction. Though I enjoy it, I'll be doing admin. I can't say anything about my chef instructors at this point, but they are absolutely subject matter experts. I'm 100% sure the CC kitchen off limits.
                        I want to incorporate web learning, but our business model initially will be extensive hands on lab instruction- something that is missing currently from the local CC program. I'd love to hear your ideas though, I'm not clear on how we could use web vids yet?
                        Jennifer
                        10-year member

                        MS Nutrition, 2014 Canisius College, Buffalo, NY
                        BA Social Science, 2008 Thomas Edison State University, Trenton, NJ
                        AA General Studies, 2008 Thomas Edison State University, Trenton, NJ
                        AOS Culinary Arts,1990 Culinary Institute of America, Hyde Park, NY

                        Homeschooling for College Credit (blog)
                        Homeschooling for College Credit (book)

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Geezer
                          Exciting stuff!!! Congrats. I'm going to throw you a curve, but bear with me.

                          A partner of mine (in another business) was just offered $5 million for his business + they want him to continue to run the business at full salary and they want to pump another $5 million into expanding the company. Why??? EVERYONE with money is trying to find new ways to earn 10% return on their money right now. This company (representing venture capitalists) doesn't want to run company's they want to earn a return on investing in them.

                          Makes perfect sense in this economy....and it is unlikely to change anytime soon.

                          I know this is your dream, but you should consider the possibility of building it and selling it. That is how you make money.

                          The other thing you should consider (after SCORE has helped/critiqued the business plan and if funding becomes an issue) is to take on a partner (under 50%) who knows you, is familiar with the education concept and has deep pockets that is currently only earning 1-2%. There are probably 5-6 people on the other board who qualify and would, if it was presented properly, invest. I'm serious.

                          Good luck, you can do it!!!
                          OMG that should sound exciting but that scares the crap out of me. That's so over my head I don't even have a question.

                          Re: buy outs- in my state, 3 long-time private culinary programs were gobbled up by the for-profit franchises/community colleges. Art Institute bought one, Cordon Bleu bought one, and a community college bought The French Pastry School. The owners of the French Pastry School still (somehow) run the school- not sure how that works, but Washburn and CHIC were gobbled up and spit out- they're completely gone now. My rub with the franchising of culinary arts runs deep, from too high tuition, to number 1 loan defaulters in the country, to unqualified instructors, to mass-producing (flooding) the market with one brand of chef (as opposed to being well rounded filling needs in many types of industries). The program I have worked for was my baby, I started it from the ground up in 1991. I stayed on as a teacher after I started a family and didn't want to be full time, but there were some challenges with letting go of "my" vision if I'm being honest. Luckily, I hand picked my replacement, he is my boss and my friend- but he has his own way, some things better, some things not. If I would ever get into a situation to sell, I would have to be done, I couldn't go through that again. I think I'd have to break out and build something else.

                          Part of why I became so burnt out with my job was the loss integrity on issues that were important to me. When all of this is up and running, I may have a good model and open a second location- or not. Maybe it's a boutique concept and I'm a type A anal retentive control freak who has to micromanage everything (that's possible btw). I don't know, I hope not. I hope I have surrounded myself with a great advisory committee (I know I have) and good business minds (I think I have) that will keep me focused on long term success. But, none of us have deep pockets.
                          Last edited by cookderosa; 08-18-2011, 12:34 AM.
                          Jennifer
                          10-year member

                          MS Nutrition, 2014 Canisius College, Buffalo, NY
                          BA Social Science, 2008 Thomas Edison State University, Trenton, NJ
                          AA General Studies, 2008 Thomas Edison State University, Trenton, NJ
                          AOS Culinary Arts,1990 Culinary Institute of America, Hyde Park, NY

                          Homeschooling for College Credit (blog)
                          Homeschooling for College Credit (book)

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by burbuja0512
                            Wow that is so exciting!!!! I agree with Andy3000 about the internet push. When you have your web designed, make sure you're working with someone who really understands what you're trying to do and who is good with SEO. (Search Engine Optimization) If you are well optimized, it can save you a fortune in advertising.

                            Also consider that we are in a great time for small businesses and free advertising. Social media can be such a great equalizer. If you do your homework, a good Facebook or LinkedIn page can make you just as popular as a school that's twice as large. Speaking of LinkedIn, Are you on LinkedIn? Are you connecting with people that might be able to help you? Are you spreading the word about yourself on your own personal FB page?

                            Can't wait to hear more!!

                            Heck no, not yet, need to get the green light first. (I sent you a pm)
                            Jennifer
                            10-year member

                            MS Nutrition, 2014 Canisius College, Buffalo, NY
                            BA Social Science, 2008 Thomas Edison State University, Trenton, NJ
                            AA General Studies, 2008 Thomas Edison State University, Trenton, NJ
                            AOS Culinary Arts,1990 Culinary Institute of America, Hyde Park, NY

                            Homeschooling for College Credit (blog)
                            Homeschooling for College Credit (book)

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              I'm sorry I didn't reply to each of your supportive comments- WOW!?! I'm really loving all the encouragement. Thanks guys, I'll keep you in the loop
                              Jennifer
                              10-year member

                              MS Nutrition, 2014 Canisius College, Buffalo, NY
                              BA Social Science, 2008 Thomas Edison State University, Trenton, NJ
                              AA General Studies, 2008 Thomas Edison State University, Trenton, NJ
                              AOS Culinary Arts,1990 Culinary Institute of America, Hyde Park, NY

                              Homeschooling for College Credit (blog)
                              Homeschooling for College Credit (book)

                              Comment

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