GUEST POST BY ANASTASIA CASEY
I did things backwards. I was working full-time and looking for a creative outlet to share my expertise and decided to host a traveling workshop series for creative entrepreneurs on weekends. Very soon after, I lost my job and became a full-time small business owner. Most people do it the other way – they establish their business first, then invite people to learn from them in a workshop. Hosting workshops is an invaluable part of my business plan – it has helped me to be booked with branding and web design clients for five months out at a time.
From building credibility, creating a powerful sales funnel, and developing a rich community, I’ve outlined why a workshop is crucial to your business and how to make it stand out in a saturated industry.
You need to host a workshop because it sky rockets your credibility to clients.
Whether existing or potential, clients immediately look to you as the industry expert when you’re hosting workshops! Industry professionals who are willing to share their knowledge “feel” more confident in their craft to clients. As a result, this adds immense value validation to products and services. Further, I’m a firm believer that sharing your knowledge helps you hone your craft, refine your skills and stay current on industry trends, all of which combine to heighten your industry cred.
Most people look at workshops as an extra income stream – which it totally is. But the real value, that is often overlooked is that workshops are the start of a strong sales funnel. Let me explain:
A new customer books your floral design workshop for $125 – a relatively low price point for your services. While at the workshop, the client falls in love with the person behind the brand – they fall in love with you! They experience your expertise first hand, are wowed by your passion and service. Three months later, that workshop customer books you as their florist for their 20th wedding anniversary party. Then again for their corporate holiday party. Then, that client invites a friend to your next workshop and BOOM, you now have another sales funnel open to future bookings at higher price points. It’s one of the most powerful sales funnels you can create, and it’s an incredibly authentic one.
Once you’re committed to hosting a workshop, you need to decide what makes it unique with other talented professionals teaching them so frequently. For me, that lies in providing a beautiful experience beyond the lesson plan, focusing on tangible and actionable takeaways, and continuing the experience after the workshop has ended.
A great workshop focuses on design down to every last detail. From the welcome bags to the course materials, to the serving pieces used for lunch. No detail is overlooked and it makes your guests feel welcome, valued and inspired. Don’t be afraid to ask for help on this – my favorite part of the Identité Collective workshops is how it brings creative business owners together.
Have a calligrapher help you with signage and showcase them during the event. Use a boutique rental company instead of disposable serve ware.
Secondly, and most importantly, make sure your clear, distinct and actionable lesson plans are evident upon booking. Are your guests going to leave with a new portfolio design? Are they learning actionable step to grow their Instagram following organically? Are they leaving with three new techniques to decorate a cake with the cakes to go along? These specific and tangible deliverables are what bring value to your client. I can’t count the number of times I’ve left a workshop and felt like everything was conceptual and nothing was practical. Make yours practical with clear deliverables!
To truly elevate your workshop among the competition, keep the client experience going after they leave the room.
I work with each of my attendees one on one as we create their new logo after the event. We have a Facebook group to ask questions, share lessons and hold each other accountable. We have an Instagram engagement pod that helps guests boost their likes and comments while staying connected to each other. This is the type of service and the experience your attendees will remember and why they’ll recommend your workshop to their friends.
I can’t express the value I’ve gained from hosting workshops. They truly have transformed my business, and in turn, transformed my life. I’ve learned so much through the planning process, booked dozens of clients and made incredibly fulfilling friendships. Be generous with your skills.
Be gracious with your knowledge. Put yourself out there. Just be prepared to receive so much more in return than just a ticket sale.
Anastasia Casey is a brand + web designer for creative small businesses and the founder of The Identité Collective, a two-day intensive branding boot camp. Having recently made the jump to “full-time”, Anastasia is loving the connection she makes with brilliant, creative, and passionate entrepreneurs every day. Travel is not just a hobby, but a way of life for her and she’s planning her next adventure to Spain and Italy next Spring. She lives in Austin, Texas with her dreamy husband and sweet adopted puppy.