To Train for Free or not to Train for Free
When I started my business nearly four years ago, I tried to cease every opportunity. Sure, I’ll meet with you at a location of your choosing. Sure, I’ll do some extra pro bono hours. Sure, I’ll provide another consult call to make sure you have what you need to move forward with our work together. However, at some point you have to take stock of your assets. I’m not just talking about your equipment or infrastructure, but about your intellectual capital – expertise, network of contacts, tools and resources that you have created. What are you willing to freely part with in the hope of finding new clients or colleagues?
I struggle with this as I primarily work with nonprofit organizations. When I started my business, I jumped at the chance to train for free through preferred partners and organizations, but started to get burned out. I needed a better way to ensure that I was providing useful content to current and potential clients, and also maximizing my time to the greatest extent. Here’s the checklist that I use when I think about offering a free training session.
- How many people will be at the session? Are you willing to conduct a session with few attendees?
- Is this training online or conducted in-person?
- Is there content that you can use from previous sessions or will you have to create new content from scratch?
- Will you be leading the session with another colleague?
- Does the entity offering the training have a well-established reputation within the industry/sector of prospects you are trying to reach?
- Do you have a pre-established relationship with the entity?
- Is the location of the entity offering the training easily accessible?
- Will you have to significantly configure your schedule in order to conduct the training?
- Is the training conducted through a regional/national conference or a one-time session?
- Is there potential for paid training in the future?
My goal is to train for free on a year to year basis, but I am more selective with the trainings that I actually conduct. If you do offer a training, what are you doing to maximize your time to the greatest extent?