By Holly Hurd
After a couple of years of volunteering, Dawn DeCosta, decided she needed a job. DeCosta had been an account manager for a US bank, but quit when she had her first child in 2000. Ten years later, in 2010, Dawn applied to work in an Apple Store.
“I felt like I had landed at the mother ship,” she recalled. “They liked me for my computer skills and my ability to interact with people.”
Friends told her it’s harder to get a job at Apple than it is to get into Harvard. She thrived at the job and especially loved teaching Apple users how to operate their products. But the retail hours were brutal.
“I had to be there on Black Friday, weekends, holidays – it was so tough with two kids in grade school,” she said. So, when she turned 45, Dawn thought about what she wanted to do with the rest of her life and where she saw her job at Apple going. “I asked myself, what do I love to do, and it always came back to teaching.”
She thought she could turn her ability to teach computer into a business. So, she decided if she “did what I loved, the money will follow.” And it did. Focusing on Apple products, Dawn was adept teaching people how to use their iPads, iPhones and Apple computers. She also kept up with her technical skills, signing up for all the Apple classes she could.
Word of mouth spread about her teaching services and before long, clients were calling. Clients from the store, started asking her to set up their new Macs and their email. She even taught users how to use and interact with the ‘cloud.’
Many of her clients are seniors. “They didn’t grow up with computers the way kids today have and they need one-on-one help. The Apple (team) is great– but it’s loud and chaotic in the stores.”
Now, Dawn is developing social media campaigns for different companies, town referendums and political campaigns. She also teaches classes at local Parks and Recreation sites.
“I taught Facebook and Twitter to four women at their kitchen table in an hour and half,” said De Costa, adding that she is just launching her new venture. ”I don’t have a web site and I haven’t advertised yet. I just got my LLC.” Her next step is to offer her tech services to corporations.
Her kids are a bit annoyed because, “they don’t like that I know more than them.”
But Dawn goes for it. She trained for a triathlon before she knew how to swim.
“I feel you can do anything if you just wrap your head around it.”
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