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Sunday, September 18, 2011

The Business of Free Technology for Teachers

Updated at 8:36am Monday morning. Thank you to the folks who pointed out my typos. I crafted most of this post from my phone. Lesson learned. 


This is a post I have been thinking about writing for many months. After conversations with some
friends and fellow bloggers, I think that it is time to explain how I accidentally started a small
business called Free Technology for Teachers.

In November of 2007 I started writing down my thoughts about websites and open source software
for educators. I did it more as an exercise in organizing my thoughts and findings than anything else. I never thought that four years down the road I would be spending 40+ hours a week on tasks related to maintaining a blog that has nearly 40,000 subscribers.

In 2009 a total stranger (except for Twitter conversations) approached me with the crazy idea of launching a community fundraiser to send me to ISTE's NECC conference. Many of you contributed to that campaign, thank you. It was at that conference that I made some powerful connections that helped to launch the business of Free Technology for Teachers. Again, not something I ever set out to do, but just happened. Oh and that stranger is now one of my closest friends, her name is Beth Still. Find her on Twitter @bethstill.

Fast forward to fall 2011 and I have to sit down with a tax professional because I've done so many keynotes and workshops this year that combined with advertising revenue makes my taxes a complicated mess. This is a good problem to have. Free Technology for Teachers is now supported by six display advertisers (I'm capping it there), my keynote talks, and workshop facilitations.Where does that leave me now? I plan to stay in the classroom for the immediate future. One of the things that I hear from the folks who have been so kind to hire me to speak at their conferences or schools is that they like the fact that the day after my talk I'll be doing the things I talked about with my own students. I've also recently registered a new domain and am in the process of setting up a website through which I plan to offer some training webinars for individual teachers in 2012.

So now in the interest of transparency you know about the business of Free Technology for Teachers. Thank you all for making this small business (in the eyes of the IRS) possible.

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