If you find yourself participating often in industry conferences, either as an instructor or a vendor, you may be able to develop an additional income stream by publishing your own books or producing DVDs or CDs to supplement the information you provide.
No matter what your industry, chances are your customers or students could benefit from additional information in an easily accessible format. In addition to self-published books or booklets, instructional videos featuring creative uses of your products, background information on your industry, or business advice gained from your own personal experience all have the potential of adding value to your seminar or conference participants.
One prominent educational seminar company holds workshops, conferences, and conventions throughout the United States for elementary schoolteachers. At some point the company decided to supply a few books on subjects relevant to elementary education for sale at their events; eventually they began to publish their own materials, written by their presenters, to supplement the seminar materials. This effort evolved into an entire book division, with the company selling their own publications and those of other educational authors at their conferences, through a mail order catalog, and over the Internet. What began as a small and simple addition to their seminars became a major source of income for the company.
So what can you bring to your seminar students or customers which enhances your public presentation? If you sell video equipment for a living, or instruct people on the use of video equipment, you can put together a book of basic videography techniques; or a simple interactive CD spreadsheet program which helps create budgets for video projects. If you teach a quilting seminar, you may be able to assemble a collection of your own designs with instructions for quilts, wall hangings, or quilted garments. Whatever your area of expertise you should be able to come up with a wealth of ideas to offer your audience.
One caution: If your business is to offer seminars in a particular subject or group of subjects on a regular basis, it would be a mistake to simply recreate your seminar in book form or as a DVD. Of course you would want to cover the basics of your subject, but your goal should be to design your seminar and book or DVD so that they complement one another, each offering information and ideas the other does not, so that people who sign up for your seminar will get additional benefit from the book; and of course, people who are exposed to your books will want to attend one or more of your seminars.
It’s a simple matter these days to self-publish books and even to sell them via websites like Amazon.com, for still another income stream. Make sure you include contact information and mention your seminars so that people intrigued by your book can contact you for seminar info.
If you do decide to create and sell informative books, CDs, and DVDs for your seminars, make sure you contact the conference center or the company sponsoring the seminars to arrange for a display area. Inventory what you need to create a display, and either provide the materials and supplies yourself or arrange for it to be provided. And don’t forget, if you’re at a conference or convention that is a day-long or multi-day affair, make sure to hire or otherwise commandeer someone to man your display during times when you are teaching or are otherwise occupied.
Offering the right supplementary materials for sale at your seminars or conferences can not only provide you with additional income, it can solidify your reputation as an expert on your subject; it may even expand your influence in your industry well beyond your present student or customer-base.
Aldene Fredenburg is a freelance writer living in southwestern New Hampshire. She has written numerous articles for local and regional newspapers and for a number of Internet websites, including Tips and Topics. She expresses her opinions periodically on her blog, http://beyondagendas.blogspot.com She may be reached at [email protected]