Former Teacher Finds Success as a Coach

Maia Heyck-Merlin, chief talent officer at Achievement First, an educational nonprofit, noticed that her fellow educators often struggle with time management and organization. Many of them spent the vast majority of their days in the classroom with few bathroom breaks, let alone time to respond to emails from colleagues or text messages from parents. "No one was thinking about organization for people who worked in schools," she says.

As a former teacher herself, Heyck-Merlin's gut instinct led her to create a workshop to teach others how to be more "together." She soon launched her company, Brass Tacks, and began teaching workshops and coaching clients one-on-one. Her book, The Together Teacher: Plan Ahead, Get Organized, Save Time!, will be released in June.

Like many full-time employees, Heyck-Merlin, 34, doesn't want to leave her position to pursue her side gig; she loves her job, and much of the work overlaps with her organizational strategies. While she recently scaled back her hours at her nonprofit job to handle the increased demands of her organizational work, she has no intention of giving up either. Financially, she's making it work, too: While she had to sacrifice some income stability by replacing part of her steady paycheck with less-predictable client work, she says that risk is worth the reward of feeling like her work is helping teachers do their jobs better.

U.S. News recently spoke with Heyck-Merlin about how she juggles her side career and what she's learned. Excerpts:

How did you get started?

I've always been a pretty organized person who has too much to do, and the only way to juggle is to be organized. Over my professional career, I've worked with a ton of very smart, very capable folks, but the issue of being together, which goes beyond being organized, was getting in people's way. So even as far back as a decade ago, I would have staff members over [to coach them]. There's a ton of stuff out there on organization, but nothing that teaches it well. I'm a teacher at heart, so I figured out how to teach it. Then I started coaching executives, just as I had friends and family.

How did you find clients?

People heard about it through word-of-mouth. After the Relay Graduate School of Education (in New York) asked me to be an adjunct professor, then it ballooned. I'm a pretty reluctant entrepreneur.

How do you juggle your coaching and consulting work with your day job?

I love my job and have no desire to leave it. I've been doing both things for five years, but in a limited capacity. I might have worked with one or two clients at a time and done a couple big presentations a year, and have been very transparent with my [bosses]. They approved it because it's helpful for their branding, too.

Then, I pulled back to 80 percent time to write my book in 2011, and I will soon shift down to 50 percent. Family time is from 5:15 p.m. to 7 p.m. My daughter goes to bed at 6:45, and then two evenings a week I'm immediately back on the phone coaching clients or interviewing teachers from 7 to 9:30 p.m.

Are you able to make up the income you lose from reducing your schedule?

I did take a pay cut to reduce my time; I'm managing less people. I'm currently projected to make up the pay gap with workshops and clients, but there are no guarantees. I carefully made estimates based on the last year and increased demand, but am I worried about it? Absolutely.

For the first four years, I didn't spend anything on my business and just pretended the money didn't exist and put it away. In the past year, I hired an intellectual property attorney, professional photographer, and created a more robust website, so I've invested more heavily back into it. My goal is not to get rich and make a lot of money--I just want to continue my same quality of life.

Your schedule sounds pretty busy. How do you stay motivated?

I keep getting more and more requests from teachers in particular, which is the group I care most about. They say, "Thank you, now I think I can do this job for longer." Teacher sustainability is a big thing. I feel compelled to pursue something that I think is missing, and nobody else was doing it.

Twitter: @alphaconsumer



More From US News & World Report

--

Get stories like this on the Yahoo app and discover more every day.
Download it now.
Loading...
  • Investigators want to question engineer in Hoboken crash
    Investigators want to question engineer in Hoboken crash Associated Press - 5 minutes ago

    Federal investigators trying to figure out the cause of the deadly rail crash at the Hoboken station hoped to question the engineer and lift clues Friday from the train's black box recorders, though one ... … More »

  • Oil rises in New York, buoyed by OPEC cheer
    Oil rises in New York, buoyed by OPEC cheer AFP News - 8 minutes ago

    Oil prices finished higher in New York on Friday, two days after producing countries reached the consensus needed for a production cut. On the New York Mercantile Exchange, a barrel of West Texas Intermediate for November delivery gained 41 cents … More »

  • US stocks rally as Deutsche Bank surges AFP - 13 minutes ago

    US stocks rose strongly Friday on news that Deutsche Bank was close to a settlement with US regulators over its sale of toxic mortgage bonds before the financial crisis. US shares of Deutsche surged 14.1 ... … More »

  • Markets Right Now: Bank stocks lead a rebound on Wall Street Associated Press - 15 minutes ago

    The latest on developments in global financial markets (all times local): 4:00 p.m. Stocks are closing higher on Wall Street, led by big gains in bank stocks. Financial stocks were bouncing back Friday ... … More »

  • Grain higher, livestock lower Associated Press - 25 minutes ago

    Grain futures were lower Friday on the Chicago Board of Trade. Wheat for Dec. rose 3 cents at $4.02 a bushel; Dec. corn advanced 7.50 cents to 3.3675 a bushel; Dec. oats was up 2.25 cents at $1.7825 a ... … More »

  • The Latest: Feds seek witness accounts of deadly train crash
    The Latest: Feds seek witness accounts of deadly train crash Associated Press - 41 minutes ago

    The Latest on a commuter train that crashed into a station in New Jersey, killing one person and injuring more than 100 others (all times local): 3:35 p.m. Federal investigators are asking anyone who witnessed ... … More »

  • Nutanix exceeds expectations in upsized IPO Reuters - 41 minutes ago

    San Jose, California-based Nutanix's share price exceeds the $13.40 value last placed on its shares in a 2014 funding round, an upgrade encouraging for the many unprofitable technology companies that, like Nutanix, have been weary of testing public … More »

  • Chinese yuan set to join IMF's elite currency basket
    Chinese yuan set to join IMF's elite currency basket AFP News - 42 minutes ago

    China's yuan is poised to enter the International Monetary Fund's elite SDR basket of currencies, elevating Beijing's banknotes into a family long exclusive to global reserve assets. A symbolic coup for policymakers in Beijing, the move represents … More »

  • Canada's Fiera buys Charlemagne Capital, eyes more deals Reuters - 50 minutes ago

    Canadian asset manager Fiera Capital (FSZ.TO) announced it has bought London-based Charlemagne Capital (CHAR.L) for 40.7 million pounds ($52.8 million) and said it is in talks with several other targets. The Montreal-based firm wants to have C$200 … More »

  • Deutsche Bank woes keep stocks on steep slide
    Deutsche Bank woes keep stocks on steep slide Reuters - 58 minutes ago

    A fresh slump in Deutsche Bank's share price sent European markets into a tailspin on Friday and left world stocks sliding toward their worst week in three months. Hit by a string of fines for wrongdoing and a sharp fall in its revenues, Germany's … More »

  • IMF sets new SDR currency amounts to reflect Chinese yuan entry
    IMF sets new SDR currency amounts to reflect Chinese yuan entry Reuters - 59 minutes ago

    The International Monetary Fund said on Friday it set new relative amounts of the currencies in its Special Drawing Rights currency basket, reflecting the entry of China's yuan for the first time on Saturday. The IMF said each SDR, the Fund's unit … More »

  • Global stocks jump, euro steady as Deutsche Bank rebounds
    Global stocks jump, euro steady as Deutsche Bank rebounds Reuters - 1 hour 3 minutes ago

    By Richard Leong NEW YORK (Reuters) - Stock prices across major markets rose on Friday, while the euro stabilized as Deutsche Bank's shares recovered from record lows on a report it is close to a deal ... … More »

  • Colorado gives marijuana candy a new look to avoid confusion
    Colorado gives marijuana candy a new look to avoid confusion Associated Press - 1 hour 50 minutes ago

    Wondering if that brownie contains pot? Colorado has you covered. A requirement that edible marijuana products come with a diamond-shaped stamp and the letters T-H-C — not just on the packaging but on ... … More »

  • Trump, Clinton feud by tweet-storm over beauty queen
    Trump, Clinton feud by tweet-storm over beauty queen AFP News - 2 hours 2 minutes ago

    In an extraordinary clash that took an already bitter presidential contest down into the gutter, Donald Trump on Friday urged voters to check out an alleged "sex tape" of a former Miss Universe who backs Hillary Clinton, provoking the Democrat to … More »

  • Lagarde Urges China to Deepen Reforms as Yuan Joins Elite Group Bloomberg - 2 hours 20 minutes ago

    “The renminbi’s inclusion reflects the progress made in reforming China’s monetary, foreign exchange, and financial systems, and acknowledges the advances made in liberalizing and improving the infrastructure of its financial markets,” Lagarde said … More »

  • Q&A: Will Deutsche Bank become the next Lehman?
    Q&A: Will Deutsche Bank become the next Lehman? Associated Press - 2 hours 28 minutes ago

    Germany's biggest bank is looking shaky and some investors fear it could collapse and endanger the wider financial system. Some even wonder whether it might become the next Lehman Brothers, the U.S. bank ... … More »

  • Data storage provider Nutanix soars in market debut
    Data storage provider Nutanix soars in market debut Reuters - 2 hours 30 minutes ago

    (Reuters) - Shares of Nutanix Inc (NTNX.O), an unprofitable provider of enterprise data storage, soared more than 80 percent in their market debut on Friday, highlighting demand for tech offerings in what ... … More »

  • Here’s how dramatic BlackBerry’s fall has actually been
    Here’s how dramatic BlackBerry’s fall has actually been Business Insider - 2 hours 31 minutes ago

    BlackBerry is done making phones. The Canadian telecoms … Continued The post Here’s how dramatic BlackBerry’s fall has actually been appeared first on Business Insider. … More »

  • Sweden to join NATO strategic comms centre: director
    Sweden to join NATO strategic comms centre: director AFP News - 2 hours 38 minutes ago

    Non-aligned Sweden will join NATO's Strategic Communications Centre based in nearby Latvia amid heightened tensions with Russia in the Baltic Sea region, the centre said Friday. "Joining NATO's STRATCOM Centre of Excellence as a contributing … More »

  • Spain's Abengoa posts 3.7-bln-euro net loss in first half
    Spain's Abengoa posts 3.7-bln-euro net loss in first half AFP News - 2 hours 49 minutes ago

    Spain's debt-laden energy giant Abengoa on Friday posted a 3.7-billion-euro ($4.2-billion) net loss in the first half of 2016, as it seeks to seal a deal with creditors to ward off bankruptcy. The renewable energy firm has until an October 25 … More »

  • Oil heads for big weekly gain after OPEC-fueled rally
    Oil heads for big weekly gain after OPEC-fueled rally Reuters - 2 hours 57 minutes ago

    Oil prices were on track for their largest weekly advance in more than a month on Friday, supported by planned OPEC output cuts, but profit-taking after a two-day rally kept benchmark crude contracts below the key $50-per-barrel mark. Both Brent … More »

  • OPEC oil output hits record on Iraq, Libya boost - Reuters survey
    OPEC oil output hits record on Iraq, Libya boost - Reuters survey Reuters - 2 hours 57 minutes ago

    OPEC's oil output is likely to reach its highest in recent history in September, a Reuters survey found on Friday, as Iraq boosted northern exports and Libya reopened some of its main oil terminals. The increase comes despite lower output in top … More »

  • Dutch summon Russian ambassador over MH17 comments
    Dutch summon Russian ambassador over MH17 comments AFP News - 3 hours ago

    Dutch Foreign Minister Bert Koenders has summoned Russia's ambassador to the Netherlands over "unacceptable" comments by Moscow criticising a report into the downing of Flight MH17, officials said on Friday. "Responding to the presentation of the … More »

  • Deutsche Bank shares swing wildly amid stability concerns
    Deutsche Bank shares swing wildly amid stability concerns Associated Press - 3 hours ago

    Shares in Deutsche Bank swung wildly on Friday, touching a record low before roaring back to life, amid speculation about the stability of Germany's biggest bank and the European financial system. Having ... … More »

  • Check out the top-secret secret design studio where Ford created its GT supercar
    Check out the top-secret secret design studio where Ford created its GT supercar Business Insider - 3 hours ago

    Ford The Ford GT has been on an … Continued The post Check out the top-secret secret design studio where Ford created its GT supercar appeared first on Business Insider. … More »

 
Recent Quotes
Symbol Price Change % Chg 
Your most recently viewed tickers will automatically show up here if you type a ticker in the "Enter symbol/company" at the bottom of this module.
You need to enable your browser cookies to view your most recent quotes.
 
Sign-in to view quotes in your portfolios.

MARKET MOVERS

  • Most Actives
    Most Actives
    NamePriceChange% Chg
    0.152-0.008-5.00%
    N21.SI
    0.12+0.01+12.15%
    40F.SI
    0.115+0.003+2.68%
    40E.SI
    0.113+0.007+6.60%
    43E.SI
    3.97-0.05-1.24%
    Z74.SI
  • % Gainers
    % Gainers
    NamePriceChange% Chg
    0.186+0.025+15.53%
    AWS.SI
    0.12+0.01+12.15%
    40F.SI
    0.164+0.016+10.81%
    40N.SI
    1.35+0.11+8.43%
    U19.SI
    0.475+0.035+7.95%
    NC2.SI
  • % Losers
    % Losers
    NamePriceChange% Chg
    0.36-0.24-40.00%
    AWG.SI
    0.20-0.06-23.08%
    AWI.SI
    0.27-0.03-11.48%
    BQO.SI
    0.30-0.03-9.09%
    5VP.SI
    0.265-0.025-8.62%
    BKA.SI

Market Data

  • Currencies
    Currencies
    NamePriceChange% Chg
    1.3633-0.0007-0.05%
    USDSGD=X
    1.5317+0.0017+0.11%
    EURSGD=X
    1.7669-0.0012-0.07%
    GBPSGD=X
    74.3400+0.269+0.36%
    SGDJPY=X
    5.6876+0.0036+0.06%
    SGDHKD=X
    3.0337+0.0108+0.36%
    SGDMYR=X
    9,603.1357+60.4229+0.63%
    SGDIDR=X
    4.8902+0.0032+0.07%
    SGDCNY=X
    1.0439+0.003+0.29%
    AUDSGD=X
  • Commodities
    Commodities
    NamePriceChange% Chg
    1,320.00-6.00-0.45%
    GCZ16.CMX
    19.24+0.05+0.27%
    SIZ16.CMX
    94.00-1.01-1.06%
    ^XAU
    2.21+0.02+0.98%
    HGZ16.CMX
    43.85+0.41+0.94%
    CLV16.NYM
  • Bonds
    Bonds
    TreasuryYield (%)Yield Change
    1.16+0.04
    ^FVX
    1.61+0.05
    ^TNX
    2.34+0.06
    ^TYX