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Are you ready to run a workshop? Tips & ideas for turning your passion into a business

Read on for tips, tricks and ideas for turning your passion or area of expertise into your own thriving workshop. 

a person is doing arts and crafts on a table

The new year is the perfect time to start an exciting new endeavour – and we think running a workshop might be just the ticket. Not only can it be a way to make some extra cash, it could end up being your golden ticket out of a job you don’t like, into one that doesn’t feel like work at all. Alternatively, running a workshop doesn’t need to be a profit-making exercise. You might just be looking for a way to connect with other like-minded people, or to offer something back to your local community.

One thing’s certain – the workshop scene is thriving. We’ve seen tons popping up on our platform, spanning from painting, crafts and photography, through to those with a focus on emotional and mental health support.  

Read on for tips, tricks and ideas for turning your passion or area of expertise into your own thriving workshop. 

Workshop ideas to get you started

Not sure if you’ve got a hobby or skill worthy of turning into a workshop? Find some inspiration below. 

Tip: Remember, you might need specific qualifications to run certain workshops. We’ve got more information about this further down. 

  • Art and mindfulness classes: Marrying art with mindfulness can be a great way to promote creative endeavours in a hectic world.
  • Creative writing and critiquing workshops: Turn your usual book club into a place where you can impart knowledge and help budding writers hone their skills.
  • Cooking classes: From French classics to pastry, fresh pasta and cakes; those with kitchen credentials can pass on their skills to knowledge-hungry cooks.
  • Yoga & meditation workshop: Instead of the usual yoga classes, yogis might find fulfilment in getting together to discuss, learn and collaborate. 
  • Photography, painting, or other artistic workshop: Those looking for a creative outlet are often keen to learn a new skill from a professional, or talented individual. 
  • Life coaching or self-help workshop: Professionals in the mental health or life coaching space could add another string to their bow with a collaborative workshop series for those looking for new perspectives. 

a book open on a table

Who can run a workshop – what qualifications do you need?

Whether or not you need qualifications to run a workshop will depend on its content and goals. If you’re running something creative where the goal is simply to explore and have fun, you probably won’t need qualifications per se. But if you’re running something related to, say, mental or physical health, you might need specific qualifications. Likewise, running a workshop related to any kind of holistic medicine, healing, or exercise – such as reiki or yoga – is likely to require certain qualifications. 

What about credentials?

It’s worth bearing in mind that if you don’t technically need qualifications, you’ll still need to think about your credentials. For example, if you’re teaching creative writing, you don’t need a specific qualification. But attendees will want to know that you’re a credible writer and that you really do know your stuff. Relevant credentials here could include having had short stories published, or having won writing competitions in the past. 

If you’re running a craft workshop – like knitting or floristry – it might be enough to simply show attendees examples of things you’ve created. Or if you’re running a cooking workshop, having worked in the industry or attended a cooking school could help with your credibility. 

Is running a workshop right for you?

Making the decision to turn a hobby into a business isn’t always a no-brainer. For some, it can end up making the hobby feel too much like work. In other words, it can turn something that was once relaxing and enjoyable into a stressful job. Your gut instinct should be able to tell you whether this might be the case for you – can you really see yourself running an arts and crafts workshop, or are you better treating your creativity as something purely for yourself to be visited in moments of downtime?

If you’re really on the fence, why not try starting small with an experimental trial run? You could invite family and friends to a free-of-charge workshop in your own home, for example. 

a person making a wreath

How to turn your workshop ideas into a reality

Ready to get your workshop wheels in motion? Here’s a checklist of things you’ll need to consider:

  • A venue: For arts and crafts, village halls and libraries are good places to start looking, or for something that doesn’t require many materials, like writing, a pub or cafe could do the trick (you might need permission from the owner).
  • A schedule: Every workshop needs a schedule – even if it’s a loose one. That could be as simple as ten minutes for an explainer at the beginning, followed by 50 minutes of getting creative under your guidance. Or it could be more structured, with time for demonstrating, creating, discussing and reviewing.

Check out our guide to designing a successful workshop >

  • Materials: Write an extensive list of all the materials you’ll need – then get shopping. Be sure to cost the price of any materials into the price of your tickets. 
  • Marketing: Posting details of your workshop in local Facebook groups can be a great place to start, and some old-fashioned flyering around your town can also be worthwhile. If you want to get a bit more serious about marketing, our guide to creating a marketing plan might be useful. 
  • A way to sell tickets: You’ll need a reliable event registration platform to sell tickets through. We might be a little bit biassed but, Ticket Tailor is one of the best value ticketing platforms around, as we only charge a small flat fee per ticket instead of a percentage of every ticket sale. You can sell tickets on Squarespace, WordPress and Wix through our platform, set up a website for free on Flyah, or simply stick with your own customised Ticket Tailor box office page. Nice!

Find out how Ticket Tailor can help you with workshop ticketing >

  • Costing: You’ll need to come up with a realistic ticket price for your workshop. If you’re not looking to turn a profit, simply charge attendees for the cost of bare materials. If you do want to turn a profit, do some research into what other similar workshops charge to get an idea of what people are willing to pay. There might be a bit of trial and error here! 

For charity drives, aim to charge for the cost of bare materials plus a set donation on top of this, for example, £5. Or, with Ticket Tailor’s handy charity donation feature, you could give attendees the option to decide how much they’d like to donate at the point of sale.

We hope this article’s got you feeling inspired 💫. Watch this space for more tips and tricks on designing a workshop or course – good luck! 

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