Have you ever gone to a terrific seminar and left wondering if you could take that experience and improve on it, running your own seminar? That’s what happened to Alice Kolb and partner Barbara Quinby when they decided to join forces to host the annual Texas-style quilter’s seminar, now known as Quilting Adventures. The annual seminar started in the early 2000s when Barbara built on her experience from her business career to invite four to six national quilting teachers per week to a classy, yet casual resort to offer students a week of learning from one teacher, good food and lodging. Today the seminar receives rave reviews for its attention to detail and the enriching experiences of its participants. If you, too, think putting on a seminar can be rewarding, here are some tips from Alice’s article in the Winter issue of The Professional Quilter.
1. Analyze yourself. Critique your strengths and energy – both financially and physically – and check your enthusiasm record for a long-term project.
2. Determine your level of commitment. Do you want to own a seminar company, either by yourself or with a partner? It’s a job with responsibilities that last all year from hiring teachers to handling student queries.
3. Put together a business plan. You need to determine how much time and money are needed to bring your seminar idea to fruition. You will need to make payments well before you ever bring in any funds and you need to be sure you can handle this financial responsibility. You also need to clearly identify the market you want to reach.
4. Research potential site locations. Do they match the style of your event? Will they meet the needs of potential students identified in the business plan? Can the faculty and students easily get to the locations?
5. Personalize your event. Consider the student you identified in your business plan and how you can make the event unique for them.
6. Consider how you will attract students. This could include advertising, personal trips to shops or shows for promotion, printed material and a website. Most important, determine how much time and money you can invest to do this.
To read the article in its entirety, you can join the International Association of Professional Quilters. This issue will be the first one that you receive as one of your member benefits.
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