How to Sell Out Your First Workshop
I can tell you from experience that there is nothing more intimidating than starting something new- and asking people to believe in it and in YOU! You've been honing your craft and your expertise in your area of work for years and you are finally wanting to explore a new aspect of your business: workshops and teaching. But as is similar with a lot of creative platforms, the workshop market is VERY SATURATED and there are a lot of different things vying for people's attention. You feel confident that you're ready to take this next step (if you're not sure, read "How do I know if I'm ready to host a workshop?"), but how do you make sure you rise above the noise and are able to attract the perfect people to your workshop that you want to work with?
1. LISTEN LISTEN LISTEN
The best way to create something that will be helpful for your tribe is to LISTEN first and often. When I was launching my first Study Abroad Workshops, I got on the phone with each person who was interested in attending. I wanted to hear what their goals were, what their business looked like, what challenges they were facing, and what they were hoping to experience from attending a trip. Listening, taking good notes, and asking intentional questions helped me craft the trips to be valuable for my attendees and it also helped me know how to word my marketing copy for those trips and future trips. Ask questions, pick up the phone, show up in person...listening allows you to speak specifically to the pain points of your tribe.
2. Build true relationships
Trust and relationships are built over time. If you're a few years away from wanting to host your own workshop, you can be pouring in to your tribe now and already meeting their needs. Over half of my first attendees on my trips were photographers I had coached, mentored, or been friends with for years. And half the attendees on my second set of trips were alumni from the first set of trips! The relationship and trust you build with your tribe is SACRED. Be incredibly careful with that trust and stay open and humble to accepting critique as you continue to grow in this new business you're building.
3. Start teaching now!
Don't wait until you are at the workshop to start teaching. Find ways to share some of your knowledge for free. There are so many elements of value you are imparting to people at an in-person workshop, not just knowledge, so don't be afraid to start giving away some free content. Giving your tribe a taste of what is to come will build trust and will help you hone the information for your in-depth sessions from the feedback you get from the free material.
4. Pre-sell tickets (test your offerings)
Offer an incentive to people who are already invested in what you are teaching. This might be an email list or a Facebook group or previous clients of yours, but offering pre-release tickets to interested parties will also be a good test for you to see if you're on the right track. If your inner circle doesn't jump on what you're offering, maybe it's time to reevaluate or reschedule. This can save you a ton of time and energy and will give you the confidence for the real launch!