10 EASY WAYS TO CREATE A KICK ARSE WORKSHOP
As you guys know I've been busy hosting workshops lately and things are ramping up even more with 8 more workshops scheduled between now and May both in Brisbane and Sydney. I have three workshops on my roster including Instagram For Your Business, Launch Your Creative Biz Like A Boss and DIY Website Design.
And it's got me thinking. Workshops are a great way to grow your business, increase brand awareness, boost credibility, meet other likeminded creatives, and build your network. They allow you to share your gifts of knowledge in a exciting format, and help other creatives become known for their something.
And they lets talk about money for a moment because workshops are a brilliant way to bring in extra income into your businesses. I also love going to workshops because it means I am investing in myself, my business and it also gives me a place where I can switch off and give my creativity a boost.
So if you are thinking about dipping their toes into workshop hosting, want to share your skills and help others learn, and add to your income stream and make money, read on to discover my tips for creating a kick arse workshop.
And, if you'd like to come to one of my upcoming workshops, click here and you'll be able to view (and hopefully book a spot) at my latest workshops.
CHOOSE A HOT TOPIC
To create a successful workshop, you need to choose a hot topic. A hot topic is something you know people will want to learn about - Instagram Masterclass, macrame, pottery, product photography and water colouring are some great examples. Your topic can be as broad as you want it to be, or it can be as niche as you want it to be. Whatever you choose, just make sure you know a lot about it and feel comfortable creating a whole workshop around it.
SETTING A TIME
Some workshops are one hour, some are two and some are longer! After you have finished creating and or writing your workshop , host the workshop in your office or home as you would in a real life scenario to see how long it will take to do the actual workshop. Add on another 30 mins to one hour. Trust me - you will need to pad out the duration because there are always technical (and sometime weather) issues, attendees get stuck in traffic and arrive late, and questions, attendees ask lots of questions so be prepared for this. It's fun! And never ever be afraid to say if you don't know the answer to something. You could also throw that question out to the other attendees to see if they know. And here's another tip - visuals are everything so don't make a business workshop text heavy, otherwise you'll start to see people nodding off. I would know because I've fallen asleep in workshops before!
FIND A GREAT LOCATION
Location is everything to me when it comes to hosting workshops. I truly believe the location draws people in as much as the workshop itself. Find a location that inspires you, and then you'll know it'll inspire your attendees. Depending on the topic of your workshop, make sure the location or venue has everything you need. You may need to bring in equipment such as a projector and a screen. So always double check. And make sure it's easy to find. If it's not, leave clear instructions on how to get there when people book.
CRUNCH THE NUMBERS
For many people, there is no point hosting a workshop if you're not going to make money out of it. However, I've always been of the belief that once the workshop presentation has been put together, you only need to cover your time at the actual workshop. So when you are creating the workshop, remember to crunch the numbers and look at all your expenses. This a really great way to determine ticket pricing as well.
KNOWING WHAT TO CHARGE
Knowing what to charge for your workshop can be quite stressful. You need to think about the time it takes to create the workshop, collecting and buying the materials, sourcing any equipment, the time spent hosting the workshop, the act of sharing your skills and managing post workshop enquiries. These are all things you need to consider so my best advice here is to work out an hourly rate versus how many butts on seats you need to either break even or make some bank. There is a fine line between charging too much and not charging enough, so don't be too hard on yourself. For your workshop, I would steer clear of overcharging. You want to get some runs under your belt because this equals credibility.
Actually getting butts on seats can be really, really daunting. Especially when you don't have someone like Workshop Australia promoting your workshop for you. Some ways you can sell tickets are to collaborate with a venue and ask them to promote the workshop for you. Share your workshop on social media, ask friends in your creative network to share it for you as well, and tell as many people as you know.
MAKE PEOPLE FEEL SPECIAL
When people arrive at your workshop, make them feel special. Shake their hand, welcome them and thank them for attending. Give them a name badge, a glass of wine and let them know where the cheese boards are - tell them to dig in! Show them where they can take a seat and on that seat, have a gift bag or a bunch of materials laid out ready for them. This could include clay and tools for a pottery workshop, or a beautiful notebook and worksheets for a business workshop. Thank everyone at the conclusion of your workshop and make a point to hang around after the workshop to meet people.
GET PEOPLE INVOLVED
Whatever your workshop is about, you must get people involved. Get them out of their seats, get them making things, get them writing in their worksheets, get them answering questions, make them laugh (if appropriate) and get them to have fun. This is a workshop after all and workshops should be fun, no matter what the topic is! I should also mention that icebreakers at the start of a workshop can be fun for some people, but daunting for others, so be mindful of this. Not everyone is confident enough to talk in front of other attendees, so don't make them!
GIVE THEM A GIFT
Not only do you want your attendees walk away feeling that they've learned something, but you should want them to walk away with something in their hands. Whether it's something they've made, some information about your business or a beautiful notebook, it will make them feel special and really happy that they took the time out to invest in themselves. And always, if attendees need them, provide pens and paper. There is someone that will always forget and there's nothing worse than pulling out a scrap piece of paper out of a notebook for them. So go the extra mile and be prepared.
RELAX AND HAVE FUN
I was pretty nervous for my first couple of workshops, and sometimes I still get a bit nervous at the start of a workshop to this day. But I've found that holding something in my hands really helps as does planting a big smile on my face, taking a deep breath and reminding myself to relax, and have fun!
All photos by Aimee Dodge Photography