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Drum Roll Please!

It’s taken an entire year, but at long last it’s DONE! Just this past week we ran the final tests and, fingers and toes crossed, at long last the online subscription classes are ready to go! It’s been a quite a journey over the past year, tangoing with technology, learning more new skills than I’d ever imagined, and peeling the layers back one by one until – voila! It’s soup.

Thanks to my far-flung friends, for putting the idea into my head at the National Federation of Press Women conference in Alabama, and the inspiration to get this started. My friend Pam Stallsmith from Richmond, Virginia really gave me lots to think about. I told her that I’d resisted putting classes online because they’d lose the camaraderie of the live classes, which is one of my favorite parts of the Finishing School, but that I supposed there would have to be some compromises to go online. Her answer was, “Since when is good enough, good enough for you?” and the challenge was on.

I did a lot of research and got great advice from people who were already doing what I wanted to do. Talking to Carol Bush and Janet Kennedy with Social Nurse convinced me that I could do this on my own, rather than putting my classes on someone else’s platform, where I would be at the mercy of how they do business. I would never have been able to pull this off without my incredible webmistress Rebecca Morris. I’ve learned so many new skills, like video editing and how to make classes work online, I can’t imagine learning how to program this complicated website too. I’d be bald by now and would have given up if it hadn’t been for her. Every time the website melted down, Rebecca found the answers and worked it out.

How it works

Each month we’ll add a new course on different topics. The first one is Getting What you Want, which is an incredible class on negotiating techniques for women. In upcoming months, we’ll have classes on how to make new friend and business connections, how to have tough conversations, be a better public speaker, how to own your power and more.

The courses are made up of about five short self-study lessons, usually five or 10 minutes each, with interactive exercises in between and a downloadable workbook you can use to take notes. You can binge watch the class in one sitting or stretch it out a lesson at a time. You even get a digital badge, just like the ones in our live classes, when you complete the course.

Thanks to Pam’s challenge to make the experience interactive, you aren’t just purchasing a class when you sign up, you’re getting so much more. With your subscription you also get bonus materials, an exclusive monthly podcast and live webinar. But best of all, when you subscribe, you’ll join a very special group of Modern Women that you can interact with on our community forum. This means that, just like our live classes, you’ll get expertise and advice from women all over the world. Such an important resource!

You don’t need to worry about whether you’ll know what to do on the site and how to get around. Rebecca and I have created an orientation course, that works like all the other courses on the site, with quick videos on how to make new friends, get involved in the community forum and more. Of course, I’m always available if you need help too.

How to get started

All you have to do to get started is to go to our online subscription website at and register. We have subscriptions for one month, three months, 6 months or a year, and we offer a 21- day guarantee. If you’re not happy with your subscription, we’ll give you a full refund.

While everything is ready to go, it might take me a minute or two to really get everything going, like the podcast and live seminar. As an early adapter, one of the benefits is being a Guinea pig and seeing things unfold. To thank you for being part of the experiment, I’ll extend your membership an additional month. While it is far from perfect, I have to start somewhere. The experience will just get better as we go. I want you along for that.

Here are the discount codes you can enter at checkout to get your special offer:

IMAGINE1 | 60 days for $39.00 (Buy 1 month/ Get 1 Free) IMAGINE3 | 120 days for $74.95 (Buy 3 months/ Get 1 Free) IMAGINE6 | 210 days for $119.95 (Buy 6 months/ Get 1 Free) IMAGINE12 | 390 days for $199.95 (Buy 12 months/ Get 1 Free)

What I learned

As always, I’ve learned a lot along the way to share with you:

Do your research.

A lot of time in the beginning, and then again later, was spent doing research. Rather then researching everything, then acting on what I learned, I researched and acted on what I was doing a chunk at a time. There were pros and cons to doing it this way. It was less overwhelming, but it also didn’t give me a true picture of the entire project and how long it would take. Getting the website up and the first class online was just the tip of the iceberg. I was surprised at all the other things that had to be done, like figuring out the terms of use and privacy policy, and it all took longer than I thought it would.

Have a plan.

That old saying, “Failing to plan it planning to fail” sticks in my head. It’s hard to take the time to plan what to do, but once I do, I always feel better. I usually start my planning process by setting the objectives or goals I want to achieve, which gives me direction. Setting the objective of making the learning experience interactive was a guiding principal for how I moved forward with the plan.

Don’t be afraid to tweak your plan.

I can git a bit rigid, especially when it comes to timelines. When I started this, I really thought I’d be ready to go by March 2018. I was killing myself trying to do everything I already do and get the website up and going too. Of course, at that time I had no idea what I was really getting myself into. I’m super grateful to my Worthy Women Advisory Panel, who convinced me that the only one who was holding me to an unrealistic timeline was myself and gave me permission to get it done when I could. Things change, and we have to be willing to be flexible.

There will be problems – don’t let it shut you down.

The website melted down a couple of times already. Just when we thought we had some things worked out, they’d stop working. One problem took working with support for three weeks to remedy. Good thing I’m stubborn, because that could have made me want to pull the plug on the whole project. Rebecca and I are already prepared for that to happen again. When it does, we’ll deal with it.

You’re going to need help – get it.

Big, important projects are impossible to do by yourself. Knowing when and where to get help is a vital resource. Sometimes my help came from unexpected places and in unexpected ways. People who kept me moving forward and believed in what I’m doing was a bigger help than I would have anticipated. While I’m often the first one to offer help to others, I stink at asking for and accepting help. The support from the contributors on the Indie GoGo campaign, while an extremely difficult ask for me, was huge and made a big difference in getting this project off the ground.


Good thing surrender was my word for last year, because I certainly had the opportunity to practice it. The harder I tried to push things to get them done, the more elusive they became. I had to just let it go sometimes, until I could circle back, find someone who knew the answers, or depend on someone else to fix it. When I realized that the site would be ready, when it was ready, I was able to keep frustration levels down. Everything worked out in its own time and not trying to rush it helped me stay sane.

There are so many people to thank for helping me make this happen. But most of all I’d like to thank you. Your continuing support and belief in what I’m trying to accomplish with the Finishing School is what keeps me going. Seeing your lightbulbs go off, and hearing your success stories, helped me realize that taking these classes to a broader audience is the right thing to do.

While I wish geography wasn’t an issue and that we could all meet under one roof to learn together, I’m looking forward to what this next adventure will bring and the new Modern Women that will join our tribe. While I’ll continue to do live classes in Wichita, helping women own their power, no matter where they live, is my life mission. I couldn’t have dreamt this without you.

Much gratitude!

Headmistress Jill

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