It has been nearly 8 months since I tumbled head first into my Forest School adventure. Some days I feel like I have come really far and learned so much and other days I see how much further there is to go. I have completed my sessions now and am trying to focus on getting my portfolio done over the Summer while I have ample free time. Spurring me on is the fact I have a group starting in September so I need to get risk assessments, session plans and everything else sorted by then. I’ve even had an insurance quote!
Now, while my course is fabulous at preparing you to be a great Forest School practitioner, it is not a business course. Many people take the course while linked to a school, which is great for them, but it can leave us freelancers feeling a little perplexed about what to do next. So, I thought I’d ponder on my business plan so far and share a few thought processes with you.
Logo and Image
I have to admit, I’ve been planning my logo since December last year. As soon as I decided I was doing the course I was just too excited not to. I have a Pinterest Board full of ideas, drawings of birds, nature doodles and illustrations. I ended up taking inspiration from Axel Scheffler who illustrates the Julia Donaldson books (Gruffalo, Stick-man) for my final blackbird logo. I drew, painted and fine-lined the blackbird myself and had a little help turning it into something computer friendly.
My partner Ryan works in online communications so I had bit of guidance when it came to sorting out my website and creating an image for Blackbird Forest School. He’s told me it’s really important to stick to a theme so that it’s recognisable. So, I always use the same main font when I am making things and I try to keep colour schemes roughly the same.
It has been really important for me to be present on social media from the get go. I didn’t want to finish my training and then start from square one getting myself out there and known. By starting early I have been able to share aspects of my training through different media, blog about my progress and develop a social media following at the same time. Ultimate multi-tasking!
I enjoy being able to share what I’m doing with friends and family as well as becoming part of the Forest School community accross social media. The instant feedback is a great way to gauge what is popular and how I should focus my business in the future.
Leaflet & Handbook
For my portfolio I do have to create a handbook that is bursting with helpful information. I am seeing it as a ‘business pack’ as well as a handbook. Inside I’m going to include all of my policies, risk assessments, emergency procedures and probably a whole lot more. It is currently nowhere near done because I’ve got to write a lot of my policies from scratch.
I have also started to create my Blackbird Forest School Leaflet which you can look at by clicking on the link. Bear in mind it is one of those triple folded leaflets so the layout may be a little odd. Also, it’s just my first draft and there is a chunk missing but it would be great to get some feedback on the look or any information you think is useful to include. Today I also wrote my communication strategy which took forever because, of course, I decided to make it all fancy and colourful. I shall leave you to revel in its jazziness…