Starting Your Workshop Facilitator Journey: An Introduction

This is one of the questions I get asked all the time. I teach people how to get booked for workshops, how to deliver workshops, how to design workshops, and how to build a business as a workshop facilitator. Because that’s the work I have done for the last 20 years. Teach what you know right?

High Tides has at least three different business coaching programs around this. But for all of you who would rather read about it and figure it out rather than being guided in a coaching room, I got you. Hold onto your hats folks, here go the Cliff’s Notes of building a workshop business.


Becoming a Workshop Facilitator: Positioning Yourself Effectively

If you want to start getting booked to teach workshops, the first thing you need to do is position yourself as a workshop facilitator and expert in your field. This presumes that you have some expertise or way of being that others aspire to attain in some way. You are a consultant. You are a therapist. You are a coach. You are someone who has amassed vast amounts of knowledge in a particular area that others would benefit from, learning from and growing from. If that’s you, you have to say that out loud and everywhere that you show up.

Once you are clear on what your expertise is, you need to position yourself as an authority teaching that thing everywhere.

  • The first step in getting booked is telling people that you do what you do. This is a branding exercise. Take a look at your LinkedIn headline; if it doesn’t convey what you offer, fix it. That’s your first step. Check your website next. Could a stranger tell that you teach workshops?


Strategic Market Research for Workshop Success

The next step in this process of getting paid to teach workshops is to do some market research. I’ve spoken about this in numerous posts, both here on the High Tides blog as well as through social media. Essentially, market research involves reaching out to no less than 20 potential clients and having conversations about their needs.

  • These market research conversations should inform the key pain points your potential clients have and help you determine how to solve them in a novel and supportive way.
  • Aim to have at least 20 of these conversations, if not more, to refine your understanding over time.


Designing Impactful Workshop Experiences: Crafting Your Offerings

The third step in the process is to craft your workshop offerings. At High Tides, we use the RIPPLE ™ method for instructional design, which includes:

  • R: Research your niche with scholarly backed resources, life experience and real-world anecdotes
  • I: Identifying learning objectives by speaking with prospective students about their pain points and goals. Bloom’s taxonomy is your friend for this
  • P: Creating a learning Path that outlines how you will take your learners from where they are to where they want to be (what will they know/do/experience by the time your workshop is over?)
  • P: Incorporating engagement strategies with Play so that learners of all types can access the material, practice your theories and receive feedback as they incorporate it
  • L: Creating Learning aids so that there are visuals (think deck, handouts, case studies, quizzes, assessments, mixed media)
  • E: Executing, evaluating, and editing over and over again

This is the process for all instructional design.

If you are new to instructional design and are curious about writing your first (or 100th) workshop experiences, and especially about ways to leverage tech along the way…


Evolving Your Workshops: From Feedback to Enhancement

Once you’ve designed your workshop experience, go back to the people you did market research with and explore the possibility of them testing your material. These should not be free experiences. You can learn more about launching a minimally viable product (MVP) and how to run a beta experience from this article.

  • After your first run, collect feedback and refine your offering.
  • Use the feedback and proof of concept to gather testimonials for your platform, including your website and social media profiles.


Creating Momentum in Your Workshop Business

Remember, if you did thorough market research, you already have 20 leads to offer consultations with and begin marketing your services.

  • Building a workshop business is like a snowball; it gains momentum over time.
  • Leveraging testimonials and continuous promotion can keep the momentum going.


Key Takeaways: Your Path to Workshop Success

That’s it. That’s my short list. How do you get hired to do workshops? It’s easy: position yourself as an expert, do market research, craft an offer, and then execute, evaluate, and edit. Rinse and repeat over and over again, and watch your snowball build as quickly as your workshop business.

Apply now for Facilitator Certification: Cohort 3 starts in 2024