I have been a trainer for 46 years. In the first 34 years, I was, if I may say, a Pure Trainer or a simple trainer. In the Army, one is just ‘trained’ with the only desire of being recognized and appreciated. There was no other motive. No promotion, incentive, or any such thing. In the last 12 years, I transitioned from a Pure Trainer to a ‘Trainer entrepreneur.’ (Not that entrepreneurs are impure!)
After almost a decade of training in the corporate domain, I realized how my quest to learn and focus on ‘knowledge’ and ‘delivery’ kept me away from the ‘business’ aspect of training. I had immense satisfaction, recognition, and popularity but the balance sheet depicted a different story. I thought I did not measure my success well. I understood the conflict between ‘passion’ and ‘business.’
I am sharing my experience so that trainers who are getting into business or have been in this business can move towards success faster with lesser effort and investment of TEM (Time, Effort, and Money)
1. Lack of FOCUS. One needs to know one’s niche and focus on it. The tendency of trying to do it all yourself prevents one from focusing on the bigger picture and getting bogged down by micromanagement. One must learn to outsource and delegate. Never do something that you can get done in lesser time at an affordable price. Remember ROTI. Return on Time Invested.
2. Fear of selling. Many trainers (like me) are scared of selling. They feel it is not right. Asking for money or demanding your price is not good. They are neither able to identify their value nor demand their price.
3. Operating in Comfort Zone. Many of us are unwilling to make the effort of moving out of our comfort zones. If you do not have a vision, ignore future trends, and stick to your ways of doing things, chances are you will decay. The speed of change is faster than ever before. There is no option but to step out. And run. Run faster (but steadily) than you ever did before.
4. Missing the trainer-marketer link. If you are the one who thinks training and marketing are different, you are in trouble. A trainer must be a marketing expert or outsource it (with basic knowledge and understanding of it.) You ought to know and practice the best trends and effective ways of selling your product, its need, and yourself as the right person to learn from. Otherwise, you will be a guy winking at girls in a dark room. Get used to harnessing the power of social media which allows you visibility and gets you leads in the least time with the least investment of money.
5. Lack of Personal Branding. Who are you? What do you do? How do you position yourself? How will your customers benefit from your training? Do you ask and consider these questions? Does all your communication flow from this one ‘brand’ or do people view you as a confused person? Trainers will do well to invest in personal branding including personal grooming.
6. Being a one-man Army. Nothing works better than collaboration. In the training industry, I feel this is a big ‘bug.’ Owning content. The myth is that you own the content which you pick up from here and there, amalgamate, or tweak it and call it your own. Collaborate, delegate, outsource, and share. You will be a big success, let me assure you.
7. Ignoring Business Skills. The majority of trainers I know have no idea how businesses are run nor do they see the need to acquire business skills. If I was to go back to 2004, I should have learned business skills before starting a business the ‘Army way.’
The amalgamation of training and business and thinking of both as one is the only way one can carve out training as a worthwhile career option. It is worth investing time, effort, and money to acquire this skill that will, certainly, help you accelerate toward success