Online Training and e-Coaching Tips

Clients Stealing Your Training Materials? Good!

October 15, 2015 9:27 by
Photo credit: Jeremy Ricketts, published under CC.

Photo credit: Jeremy Ricketts, published under CC.

Are your customers stealing your training materials? Too many trainers have a story or two about their clients or other trainers stealing their intellectual property. Just imagine, over the years you have produced or created efficient lesson plans, instructive hand-outs and effective ice-breakers, only to see others running with your materials.

Says Clare: “I have had my materials copied from my book published by Gower, put in front of me at a client meeting as an example of the standard ‘they’ aimed for and produced. I had changed my name so they didn’t realise it was me. Much shuffling when I told them.”

Protect Your Property

What can you do to protect your intellectual property, or to see to it that you get compensated for your hard work? Here are a few strategies for protecting your ip or dealing with ip theft.

  • Stop producing your own material. Instead, make a list of books, videos and websites for you trainees to prepare with. This renders the point of stealing moot, but it also makes you completely dependent on the training materials others provide. If everybody followed this strategy, there wouldn’t be any training materials left. And you won’t be able to create any bespoke materials.

    Photo credit: wyman H, published under CC.

  • Include your email address and website url in the content, e.g. embedded in graphics. This doesn’t prevent theft, but it does make it easier to prove you’re the author.
  • Include your name and contact details in the footer of all handouts and other paper materials, for the same reason as above.
  • Some trainers have seen their materials included in a tender or proposal stolen. You could have the customer sign a non-disclosure agreement (NDA) to prevent this, but probably only if you’ve already got a lot of clout with that particular customer.
  • In most civilized countries, you automatically own the copyrights as an author or creator, but it never hurts to liberally include copyright notices.
  • Trademark your materials. Again, this makes it much easier to proceed with legal steps when push comes to shove.
  • Use online training. It’s a lot harder to steal tests, assessments, and assignments when they’re offered through an online training platform (or lms). And you can’t properly steal text message (sms) reminders, email refreshers and an entire community of alumni participants – all of which can be accommodated through an online training platform.

If you do find that customers or third parties are using your materials without your permission, send them a cease and desist letter, accompanied by an invoice and a proposal for the continued use of the materials – for a price of course.

Clients Stealing from You Is Actually A Good Thing


Photo credit: wyman H, published under CC.

If, in spite of all the countermeasures, customers continue to steal your training content, then that means it’s very valuable to them. That probably also means you could sell your materials to a broader audience. You could even use it as your marketing story: “Teresa’s training materials are so good that other trainers badly needed them – to the point of stealing them. That’s why she decided to create a handbook which contains all the materials plus an instructive guideline on how to use them!”

So, your stealing customers may point you in the direction of publishing your training materials or even starting your own franchise business. To get started, hand out freebies, encourage people to distribute these freely; create digital products which are easier to copy and share.

In conclusion, don’t worry too much about customers or other trainers stealing your training materials. Give them some more to “steal” so they’ll spread the word for your fledgling franchise business.

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Create Your Own Glamorous Training Opportunities Abroad

August 3, 2015 9:04 by
Tropical Beach

Photo credit: PublicDomainPictures, published under CC

Unless you happen to be a corporate trainer working for a huge multinational business, you probably don’t get the chance to travel the globe that much.

But why not create your own glamorous training opportunities abroad? The internet and budget airlines have made it far easier to travel and work in other countries. Just call your LinkedIn or Facebook connections through Skype (so you don’t have to pay the international phone call fees) and ask them for a reference.

Here are 5 guidelines to help you expand your horizons.

  • Don’t sell ice to Eskimos – don’t try to compete in a saturated market that already has all the training it needs. Just because your skills are in high demand in your home market does not mean they are overseas. Do your research. Get the numbers for the local market.
  • Avoid direct competition with the locals – you don’t speak the language, don’t know the customs, so you’ll always lose. You have to bring something unique to the table.
  • Play to your strengths. For instance, maybe you have in-depth knowledge about a specific market in your home country that overseas manufacturers are interested in. So, train the sales people of the overseas manufacturers on the local customs and business regulations in your country. In marketing speak: you’re looking for a unique selling proposition in your target market.

    Sea Gulls

    Photo credit: Oliver Berghold, published under CC

  • Focus your efforts on the most promising market. Be specific: training Chinese tour operators who travel to the UK is better than “training workers in the Chinese tourist industry”. The reason is that you can get your idea validated sooner, build more relevant references (who also inform each other about the opportunity you represent for them), and re-use your experience with similar customers.
  • Start selling your training services from your home. There’s no need to wait till you reach foreign soil. Pick up the phone, reach out through LinkedIn or Facebook and try to get into contact with key decision makers in your target market.
Alona Beach, Bohol

Photo credit: Wikipedia, published under CC

If you like traveling for the sake of it, consider doing all of your training online, through webinars, Skype conferences and online training platforms (learning management systems). Follow the lead of the digital nomads (check out the guys over at tropicalMBA)  and create a location independent training business.

This means, in essence, that you’re doing all the work online, from the comfort of your hotel room – or with your laptop on a beautiful tropical beach.

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Magical Pitch for Your Training Business

July 1, 2015 9:27 by
Fresh grapes

Photo credit: Maja Petric, published under CC

You need a magical sales pitch to get the best leads for your training business. A magical pitch enchants your customers because it starts by talking about them. Not about you, not about your training, but about the problem they have, the pain they are feeling.

For instance, if your training is meant to increase employee retention then start talking about the problem: employee turnover. Do your homework, find out what the current employee turnover rate is for your customer. Use that number in your pitch.


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