Are You Ready to Host a Workshop?
"The mediocre teacher tells. The good teacher explains. The superior teacher demonstrates. The great teacher inspires." - William Arthur Ward
With a huge influx of creative industry workshops, I have students ask me all the time about hosting their own workshops. I'm a big proponent of building a business that has diverse revenue streams, and teaching CAN be one way to grow, but there are several things to consider seriously before you take the plunge in to teaching professional workshops.
1. Do you love teaching?
I don't care if you are the most amazing photographer/basket weaver/dancer/speaker on the planet, if you don't love teaching, PLEASE don't force yourself to teach or host a workshop for financial or ego-driven reasons. It's ok if you are new to teaching (this is your first workshop!) and are still learning and growing in this art, but be committed to becoming a better and better teacher just like you have been committed to growing your craft.
2. Are you confident in the skill you are preparing to teach?
We are all on a journey of growth, and I think that at all stages, there are ways we can teach and ways we can learn. Be honest with yourself about where you are in your journey and don't try to sell a course on something you haven't mastered yourself yet. The worst thing you can do is to promise something you can't deliver or to twist the truth about where you are in your own professional journey. When you're evaluating what you want to host a workshop on, ask yourself:
- "Am I qualified to teach this subject?"
- "Am I passionate about this subject?"
- "Am I providing something unique to my attendees?"
- "How can I add more value to this experience?"
- "Have I found some level of success over a significant amount of time in this subject?"
3. Are you meeting a specific need for the people that are engaged in your journey?
If you're wanting to teach a subject, make sure it's a subject that will help the people you are engaging with. Do you have a group of followers/subscribers/friends who would be interested in what you are offering? The old adage, "Build it and they will come" is NOT the mindset you want to take when preparing to host a workshop or class. Work on building and serving a community before you attempt to launch a large workshop or course.
4. Is your primary business in a good healthy place?
Launching a workshop series or educational side of your business is like starting a brand new business. It takes a ton of time, money, resources, and energy, and can potentially take time and energy away from your main source of income. Make sure your primary means of providing for yourself is in a good place before you shift your focus to something new. You don't want to be slaving away to put on a workshop while your calendar of projects is looking slim. Don't assume it will be a big money maker your first time out the gate and be prepared to take a hit if you have to. Like most things, launching a new business is a risk and you want to make sure you are prepared personally and financially for that risk.
5. How is your ego?
The biggest thing I've learned with teaching is how to ask for and accept feedback. Each person will come in with their own ideas of what they need and what they expect, and not everything will be perfect (especially your first time teaching). Humility, courage to ask for feedback, and the ability to hear critique will make you a better teacher and a better human in general.
Check your motives, be confident in the skill you are teaching, be prepared, be passionate, and focus on serving and meeting the needs of the people who are trusting you as their teacher! If you feel ready for that next step, get ready to Sell Out Your First Workshop!