Like a glass of champagne, the bubbles always rise to the top.
I’m still buzzin’ after our sold out OnlineTrainer.com invitational yesterday where 70 of the best and brightest online trainers got together in Toronto. And while there was some learning, the real story of the day was the connection.
After hosting 3 seminars and 2 full-fledged conferences, I wanted to do something different. Paying for a ticket, listening to a host of speakers, and furiously taking notes on stuff that you’ll probably never look at again doesn’t do much good. What we wanted to do with this event is cultivate an environment where others taught and shared.
Together we are strong. I believe in creating platforms, events, and products that curate the best people and best knowledge. Online training doesn’t have to be a lonely job.
It takes a community
There’s a saying about raising a child that it takes a community and now that I have a baby boy, I agree.
Building world class educational resources also takes a community. Many writers, product creators, and educators forget that. I don’t sit here by myself and magically come up with everything.
Since 2011 I’ve built the largest collaborative blog for trainers in the world.
Having a large audience is great. Leveraging that audience to better understand the worldwide needs of trainers in order to build world class resources is even better.
Take the Online Trainer Academy, for example.
In late 2012 we began collecting data from our audience. I say data because I don’t have a better word. Don’t get bogged down by the word “data”.
Here, I’ll say it a different way:
In late 2012 we began speaking to our audience and asking them what they needed. We performed surveys, phone calls, and observed social media and readership trends. By the mid 2013 we had a few hundred thousand data points. By now we have many millions. I stopped counting.
Speaking and actually listening to our audience clarified the problem that needed solving:
All serious trainers a few years into their career need to figure out how to make a bit more, in a bit less time, with a bit better schedule.
With the problem defined, online training became obvious as the solution.
Back then nobody was teaching it. There were some online trainers, but not a lot. By myself, I built the original model for starting an online training business, taking care of clients, and marketing it. 24 beta students were invited to test the program and 22 completed it.
We improved the model based off of their feedback and turned it into a course called 1K Extra – the first course ever to teach trainers how to build an online training business.
The data from our audience taught me how to skate to where the puck was going. It was obvious that online training was going to be huge back in 2013 to anybody who knew to look.
But the lessons don’t stop there.
Because I was first, a huge, and still growing, community of online trainers developed. 1K Extra went through 3 major revisions and 5 iterations as we sold it to a cohort, watched how they used it, surveyed our students, and spoke to hundred of them on the phone. Each cohort provided us with valuable insight, and we kept getting better with the help of our community.
Finally, in September 2016 1K Extra evolved into the Online Trainer Academy (OTA) – the world’s first certification in online training and premier business development course. What’s happened since has been amazing…
…We’ve now let in 3 cohorts of students into OTA with the next intake happening in September. I am happy to report that there does not have to be any major revision for OTA in September.
Back in November 2017 we released V2.0 of the Fundamentals of Online Training textbook and, with the incredible help of our thousands of students and millions of data points over 5 years, we were able to make the textbook perfectly timely, yet timeless.
Not only that, the course has also been the benefactor of many donations of resources from our students. For example:
- The pricing calculator was massively improved by Rob Yontz
- Our done-for-you 208 Facebook posts has been translated to Spanish by Franco Guzmán
- Legal contacts for insurance have been provided by a number of students
- 100s of done-for-you exercise demonstration videos have been contributed by our community.
- Countless examples of beautiful and brilliant documents to use in your business have been provided by countless students
And so much more. I’m forgetting a lot.
It takes many years and a community to build a world class resource and it takes a community to better yourself, and I recommend you find and foster yours.
P.S. A $50 fully-refundable deposit secures your spot for the Online Trainer Academy in September today at www.onlinetrainer.com/academy.