Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Too much education out there! How do you choose what is right for you?

It has become more apparent to me this year than ever that there is an overwhelming amount of people and organizations offering education to our industry. More than I've seen before, people are tapping into teaching as another way of making money. Since it is easier for people to communicate to an audience by way of online marketing, webinars, YouTube, online deals and easy registration programs, there are less hoops to jump through when producing education events. But this recent surge in educators can be a problem: so many choices in your face at all times makes it hard to choose, and creates a "dime a dozen" mentality, turning education offers into white noise. You may be familiar with the Facebook group called MUA Workshops Workshops, which is a constant rotation of new events, seminars, membership programs, YouTube channels, etc. I know if I post something there, within minutes it will travel far down the thread until someone likes or comments on it.

I often read through the offerings and select what I would actually choose if I were seeking education in makeup or hair, and would like to share how I make those distinctions. Luckily, my dear friend Michael DeVellis, owner of The Powder Group (of which most of us are proud members!) has already addressed this subject; He offers very clear points and questions you should ask yourself before deciding to invest. Be thorough, and make sure - as with anything - that you are getting immense value from your investment.

I've gotten so many messages lately about the huge amount of education out there in our industry these days and how can one tell the difference between what would be a great investment and what is a waste of time. So I thought I'd share a few points to consider:

- Who are the clients of, and what is the experience of, the educator? Do you aspire to have their career?
- Are they a true expert in the area they are teaching in? Check their website, CV and bio for up-to-date, relevant experience.
- When was the last time they worked on a shoot, film, show, project - versus just teaching about it? The industry changes - they need to be current.
- Are they an experienced educator as well as makeup artist or hair stylists. Just because you are a good creative talent does not make you a good educator.
- Does the cost of their program seem fair for their experience and where the event is being held? Are their cancellation policies fair?
- Are they toting an old success story as their entire basis for being a teacher? What have they done lately?
- Do they have a website and proper business set up to produce these events? Are they insured to produce such events?
- It's hard to judge integrity, ethical behavior, good industry etiquette and so on from a Facebook message but do your homework. The worst thing to do is take advice from someone who behaves badly, is negative or uses manipulative means by which to build their business. Learn from those who you want to be like. 
I hope this helps! Happy learning!
Michael DeVellis
Executive Director, The Powder Group

I would not say anything different! The only thing I would add:

- If you have an opportunity to go experience the facilitators first hand (trade show presentation, or a less expensive seminar) feel free to test the wares first. You will energetically know if this person is right for you to learn from, so you feel more confident in investing.

- Also feel free to make a list of what you want to get out of your experience, and if the promotional material isn't clear that is what you will be getting, contact them. Their customer service will also be a great indicator as to whether or not your needs will be taken care of.

In the end, you will learn something from every decision you make regarding your growth in business, so do not let the process paralyze! Keep moving forward! Enjoy the start of your new year.

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