How to Plan a Successful Workshop

how to plan a workshop

Workshops are a great way to earn money, boost credibility, and gain exposure. They’re also one of the most rewarding ways to share your craft within a community, and there is a community for everything (spoon carvers unite!). Workshops are an opportunity to offer your expertise your way—they allow you to follow your heart, flex your creativity in what you deliver and how, and serve as a dynamic outlet to share your passion.

Determine what Kind of Workshop You’ll Teach

Whether or not you already know what you want to host a workshop on, chances are good you have a lot more teachable skills than you realize. Everyone has a trove of shareable skills. Before you get too far into the planning process, list off as many of your skills and interests as you can. Do a big brain dump. Not only will it help you figure out your niche skills, but it’s also a great confidence booster.

A few questions to reflect on: What do people ask you for help with? Do you have a unique approach to a certain skill, or your own creative methods? Why do you love your craft? What tangible skills would you be proud to see people go home with? What emotional impact do you want to have on your guests?

Check out Similar Workshops

Before you dive into planning your workshop, it’s a good idea to check out similar classes. Put on your marketing hat, and look at how others are promoting their workshops and where. What type of language are they using? What type of visuals? What is their pricing like?

If you can, attend someone else’s workshop. Pay attention to what draws you in—what is their unique angle or vision? Do they contact you or send you anything leading up to the workshop? Once in the workshop, how do they introduce themselves, how much instruction do they offer, and how much time is spent talking versus creating? Finally, how do they wrap up the workshop? Do they give you any take-home materials, or send any follow up?

Take a lot of notes—about the good and bad—then get ready to apply your learning. For a list of upcoming classes in Vancouver or Victoria, check out the listings on Fieldtripp.

Find a Venue

If you don’t have access to hosting space, don’t stress. It’s easier and more affordable than ever to find temporary spaces. Two of our favourite venues in Vancouver are Homestead Junction and the Juice Truck community space. Other helpful resources are ShareDesk and thisopenspace, which both list a variety of temporary spaces.

Develop Promotional Materials

Once you’ve found your venue and locked down a date, it’s time to create promo material. If design isn’t your thing, try using a free tool like Canva, which lets you create professional quality materials ranging from posters, to social media images, to blog graphics.

Dedicate some time to think about your key messages. Think of a catchy workshop title, a descriptive subheading, and a few bullet points that explain the purpose and benefits of your workshop. Run them by a few friends to get their honest feedback, and elicit their ideas.

Luck Favours the Prepared

A lot of first-time workshop mistakes come down to time management. Be sure to think through the details of your plan, and realize that most things will take longer than you anticipate. Questions come up, tangents arise, and unplanned distractions almost always spring up.

At the same time, make sure you have enough material in case everything does go according to plan. Have additional exercises ready, discussions questions prepared, or informative videos you can play. It’s helpful to run through the workshop with a few willing friends as well, and a total win-win: you get honest feedback, and they get to enjoy learning something new.

Other factors to consider:

  • Will you need support? Do you need assistance creating materials, facilitating, or cleaning up?
  • Do you need to source or produce materials in advance?
  • If you’re running a longer workshop, will you be serving food or drinks? If not, will you ask people to provide their own food, or give them time to run out to grab a refreshment?

Determine your budget

Now that you’ve mapped out your venue, know your capacity, understand your marketing goals, and know what resources you need, you can figure out cost per attendee. To do so, you’ll need to determine your costs to break even, your costs to make a profit, and your ideal earning goal.

Dream Ahead

It might seem premature to start planning your next workshop before you’ve even run your first, but having a vision for future workshops will help set you up for success. The easiest people to recruit down the road will be those who have already experienced your magic, as well as their friends. Even if you don’t want to promote future services at your event, your guests just might ask.

Ready to host your workshop? With Fieldtripp, you can create a beautiful listing that registers people and takes payments. Plus you get a workshop management tool that will lovingly guide you through the whole process. Create your first listing on Fieldtripp now.  

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