Growing business as a learning professional

E-Learning is one way for learning professionals to grow their business.

Learning professionals have conventionally been restricted to making money only when they are actually providing training. This comes from the traditional classroom training set-up where one learning professional trains users or managers in one location.

There are ways to increase earning potential for learning professionals through both traditional systems and newer, more technology-heavy, means of expanding business.


Referrals and cross-selling

Establishing a referral network, in particular one which involves a mutual cross-selling relationship, can go a long way. Through this a learning professional can leverage not just their own network, but the networks of their referral partners, to reach new clients. A mutual cross-selling relationship can be profitable even when it doesn’t drive new clients, through referring clients for the other party.


Expand your base

A trainer, no matter how brilliant, can still only be in one place at a time. However, their training materials can be in multiple places through the use of subcontractors. 

Using a subcontractor to carry out training needs to be agreed upon with the client beforehand. If the client is interested in the materials, rather than just the reputation of the learning professional, arranging for a subcontractor to provide the actual training can increase a learning professional’s ability to make money in different locations at the same time. 

When engaging a subcontractor, the learning professional must be sure that the subcontractor will do a good job. There also needs to be agreements on the use of original training materials, provision of follow-up, and who gets any ongoing business which comes from the subcontractor’s training sessions.


Licensing use of materials

Unlike directly hiring a subcontractor to carry out training, if a learning professional licenses the use of their materials, they may not actually deal with the eventual client. Instead, by allowing other learning professionals use of their materials, they can earn money either through an ongoing license or through usage fees.

Again it is important to ensure there is an agreement covering where and how the materials can be used, what kind of attribution will be given, and who gets any follow-up work.


Branching out into e-learning

Going into e-learning has a variety of involvement levels, from a learning professional providing content all the way to creating their own e-learning platform. These all build alongside more traditional ways of expanding business, and they can be used together to get even more benefit.


Content creation

A learning professional can provide content to an independent e-learning platform, which will then produce the program and video. Then every time the video or program is purchased the trainer will get a royalty fee.

Agreements around content creation usually have provisions for updating the content – as new trends emerge or new laws are brought in. This could involve one-off updates or creating a series of content.

This makes the most of the expertise of both parties – the learning professional is able to transform their expertise into ongoing revenue, and the platform provider is able to produce, market, and distribute the content.

The same principle applies to creating webinars – a learning professional produces delivers an online seminar, which can be archived and accessed for a fee, or run more than once to different audiences.


E-Learning programs

If they wish, a learning professional can move beyond just supplying content.  There is the opportunity to produce their own online courses and videos, host them on their own platform, and take care of distribution themselves. A trainer can engage outside parties for any step of the process, or take care of everything themselves.


Through both expanding traditional training capabilities, and moving into the e-learning space, a learning professional can increase their revenue and build their business. Even better, many of these opportunities produce ongoing revenue with less work and investment than conventional methods.

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