Today we’d like to introduce you to Liz F. Bradley.
So, before we jump into specific questions about the business, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
When I was in fifth grade, my teacher took our class to see a play at the local theatre. I had only ever watched stories on tv and film, so seeing actors move on stage, living out their given circumstances, and breathing the same air I breathed left me spellbound. The next morning, I corralled my classmates into reenacting the show. After word got out, we performed for the entire school. I guess you could call it bootlegged theater.
Those moments burned bright in my psyche and I’ve told stories ever since. As a high school English teacher, many years later, I wove storytelling into my lesson plans — parts of speech, literary elements, cross-examining Curly’s character in Off Mice and Men — no concept was off limits. Stories were the stuff of making and communicating meaning about the world. Today, I’m still a dedicated educator, writer, and performer, and can’t imagine a better synergy among the spheres. I know for a fact that my ongoing quest to tell better stories ultimately serves my students and their goals.
Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
As any solopreneur might attest, it’s exhausting to wear multiple hats. You’re often your own cheerleader and not-so-cheery leader. There were days when I wanted to toss my work into a moving garbage truck. “Moving” being the key word here since that would stop me from diving in to retrieve paperwork from the sticky stench. I’m grateful that I now rely on a supportive community of other female entrepreneurs, and continue to collaborate with educators I admire.
Please tell us about Ink Well Coach.
My company is called Ink Well Coach. I guide college and graduate school applicants through their personal statement writing process. I’m proud of the fact that my business provides truly distinct insight and writing tools to help applicants craft dynamic stories that capture who they are, and create a meaningful experience for the reader. So far, 100% of my past students have enrolled in their top three universities, including Ivy Leagues. What I’m even more proud of are the meaningful relationships that my students, their parents, and I have cultivated over the years. Nothing beats celebrating their successes while in college, be it securing coveted internships and fellowships, or guiding the next phase of their acceptances into law, medical, or business school.
If you had to go back in time and start over, would you have done anything differently?
As any solopreneur might attest, it’s exhausting to wear multiple hats. You’re often your own cheerleader and not-so-cheery leader. There were days when I wanted to toss my work into a moving garbage truck. “Moving” being the key word here since that would stop me from diving in to retrieve paperwork from the sticky stench. I’m grateful that I now rely on a supportive community of other female entrepreneurs, and continue to collaborate with educators I admire. I’m also better at taking as many breaks as I need to rest, and to focus on other areas of my life. I try my best not to do the same thing all year round; variety fuels me and my work.
What quality or characteristic do you feel is most important to your success?
Levity. In my experience, levity invites depth. And by levity, I don’t mean fluff or fake “authenticity.” Rather, my goal as a writing coach is always to create a relaxed and playful space that allows my students to unearth story gems from their lives, even when they think “nothing interesting has happened to them.” Too often, we ask applicants to be vulnerable — to be honest about who they are — but then we ply them with vague writing advice: “show don’t tell.” But what does that really mean? Showing has to serve a particular meaning and experience for the reader. Levity and clear guidance allow to my students’ unique perspectives to rise to the page.
If I may add one more quality, I’d say curiosity. I love love, love learning about the skill of writing, and sharing my stories with the world. If I’m going to teach a concept, I need to have applied it successfully in my own work. I’d be a hypocrite if I spoke all day about writing and didn’t have a writing practice myself. Mulling about storytelling — the highs and lows of the process — is what allows me to meet my students where they are and guide them to where they want to be.
- Website: www.inkwellcoach.com
The Hailey Simone Project