When did you last review your training business? When was the last time you thought about the services you offer and whether they still serve you? How long has it been since you last reviewed your website? Do you have a good handle on how your marketing is performing?
I’m asking these questions because I’m coming out of the other side of a major review of The Trainers Training Company. Throughout 2023, I took stock of my offerings and had some frank conversations with myself about what I loved and what wasn’t working for me anymore.
Did I feel resistance? Absolutely! There were several things that I thought I should be doing. However, I then reminded myself that, as my own boss, I don’t have to ruled by “should”. Instead, I decided to define the business by what I want to offer based on what I love and what adds real value for my clients.
Is it time you did the same thing?
Why it's important to review your training business regularly
When you’re running your own business, it’s easy to get so bogged down by daily tasks that the bigger strategic stuff takes a back seat.
The problem with this is that you can end up on something of a hamster wheel, doing what you’ve always done because you don’t have the time to think about how you might do things differently.
And what’s the saying? “Do what you’ve always done, and you’ll get what you’ve always got”.
If there are areas of your work that feel “off” in some way, then carving out time to review your training business regularly will help you to pinpoint what’s working as well as what isn’t. It can help you to identify problem areas or grab opportunities when they arise.
There are other practical reasons to conduct regular reviews or audits. It can help you identify areas where you’re overspending or aspects of your business that you would prefer to outsource. It can also highlight gaps in your services or help you to keep your website up to date.
What my business review looked like
I started with my gut instinct
I began reviewing my business by thinking about everything I was offering. Naturally, it was important for me to consider what my audience love and where there’s the most value for them (I’ve just sent a survey out to understand more about this!), but I also considered what I love versus tasks that were feeling more like a chore.
At first, this was big picture stuff. I thought about coaching, Trainer Talk membership, courses, events, lead magnets, blogging, etc., as broad categories and then looked at my activities under each heading in more detail.
I decided to write down the specifics of what I love, and why, with the goal of losing – or reworking – anything that no longer felt like a “good fit”.
I’ll be honest that some of the changes I subsequently made to my business – like offering 30 Days to launch and grow a training business as an evergreen course rather than delivering the whole thing live – were based on my gut instinct more than cold, hard figures.
The 30 days course has always been popular and is one of my favourite offerings but showing up for live sessions over 30 consecutive days is a big commitment (for me and the course students) and people would often lose their momentum around the midway point.
Making the course one that people can join at any time and study under their own steam, but with a regular live component for accountability and motivation, felt like a logical change – the best of both worlds.
Yes, there are challenges to consider. Having a course available for enrolment at any time means that it’s harder to create a sense of urgency about signing up. On the other hand, I don’t have the pressure of managing a launch for each new intake. I love the idea of being available when people need the training, rather than working to a schedule that might not fit their needs.
I reviewed my SEO
I launched The Trainers Training Company in 2009 and have had the same website domain since then. Over the years, my website has been through assorted designs and incarnations. Services have come and gone and even come back again in some cases! For 15 years, my website has been there, reaching out to trainers and bringing them into the fold.
But last year, I realised that my website and SEO efforts probably needed some housekeeping.
When people were searching for The Trainers Training Company online, Google was highlighting a selection of pages at the top of page one (you get the idea from the screenshot below, although I took this after my housekeeping efforts started to pay off!)
While having a listing like this on Google is a fantastic sign that the site has a good level of authority in the search engine’s eyes, I realised that some of the pages being listed were either completely out of date or even old versions of the website taken from obsolete index.php files that were still live. This is not exactly what I want to show my audience!
This realisation spurred me into action. I began reviewing the design and content of my website. After a helpful chat with my hosting company, I dealt with any redundant index.php files, for example, so that Google would eventually stop showing old versions of my website in searches.
I set up 301 redirects from popular old URLs to current relevant URLs on my site. Then I created a custom 404 Not Found page so that, even if a searcher does arrive on a broken URL, they see genuinely helpful information.
I also went through my high ranking but low traffic pages (something you can identify using Google Search Console) and improved their meta data (title tags and meta descriptions) to make people more likely to click on them in Google searches. This is still a work in progress, but then Rome wasn’t built in a day!
I reviewed my website
“Simplicity” was one of my goals when I set about reviewing my business. I wanted to streamline my services and make it as simple as possible for people to work with me.
I extended that principle of simplicity to my website too.
I began by looking at things like the plugins or software I was using. I moved my course and membership sales on to Thrivecart, for example, and was able to ditch more complicated integrations that had caused me tech headaches in the past.
In addition, I strengthened the website’s security and did jobs that had been sitting on my to-do list such as deleting old user accounts.
· My Everything page
One hugely successful change I made to my website was introducing an Everything page.
It’s such a simple and helpful way to show people how they can work with me, whether their training business is yet to launch, or they’ve been working at the coal face for decades. If you’ve come to this site not sure where to start, the Everything page sets out a path. It only took a few weeks for this to become one of the top 10 most “clickable” pages on my site.
· I found my most popular content
Another thing I did while reviewing my website was look at data in Google Analytics and Google Search Console to see which topics tend to create the most on-site traffic. This enabled me to find my most popular blog articles and start mapping out related topics for the future, now that I’m determined to get back into blogging more consistently.
· I updated my lead magnets
During my website review, I also looked at things like the free guides I offer and the pages I’d created to promote them, the wording that encourages people to sign up to my mailing list, and the pop-up I use to promote my lead magnet.
To make things simpler, I combined my three current guides into a single free “starter kit” for freelance trainers, although there is some fantastic information in there for more established trainers too!
Some split testing (available within the WordPress plugin) helped me find the pop-up design and function that has the best conversion rates.
· Other website changes
As a result of my review, I also implemented other changes on my website, such as adding a live chat service and chatbot or making all the Top Trainer profiles into searchable pages within their own directory.
A quick check of my Google Analytics stats for the last 90 days shows that nearly all my key pages are attracting more traffic because of these recent changes. The one that’s had a slight dip was one of the first pages I amended, so its traffic peaked a little earlier!
I reviewed my membership offering and courses
As I mentioned earlier in this article, my review covered the services I provide for freelance trainers and training business owners. I made the decision to move the Trainer Talk community back to Mighty Networks, for example, and (as already discussed) to make 30 Days to Launch and Grow a Training Business available at any time rather than running it live twice a year.
I asked myself important questions. Do I want to offer an in-person VIP coaching service where clients get my full attention for a single day? For now, the answer is no.
I do, however, want to continue coaching freelance trainers in a one-to-one capacity over three or six months because my clients get the most value from a longer-term commitment to work together.
Creating the space to review my business led me to starting up the free Manageable Marketing live sessions on the last Wednesday of every month. I love bringing the community together, new and old, and having a good old chinwag with people who are all part of the training world.
It was also because of my business review that I decided to open an affiliate scheme to members of the Trainer Talk community.
What would you change in your business?
I’ve mentioned the points above to show how reviewing my business has motivated me to make changes and simplify how I work. I already loved The Trainers Training Company, but I feel even more inspired and motivated after dusting off a few lingering cobwebs.
This isn’t a one time and it’s done process either. More changes may be coming to the business soon! I will continue to check in and review the different areas of my business, so that it continues to complement and enhance my life – and give my clients what they need.
What would you like to change in your business? Do you need to review your training services, your pricing, your website, your marketing… or something else entirely?!
The key is to do more of what serves you, what lights you up inside, and to let go of the things that don’t work for you anymore.
Remember, I’m here to help you if you need support. I set up The Trainers Training Company so that you don’t have to feel alone, especially when doing all the business stuff behind the scenes.
Hopefully, these resources will help:
- If you’re starting out, check out the Freelance Trainer Starter Kit – this will help you to get your pricing and client finding basics in place!
- If you want a more comprehensive blueprint to launching a training business, then 30 Days to Launch and Grow a Training Business is ideal.
- If you’re ready to grow your training business beyond the start-up stage, you can join The Complete Trainer waitlist or check out my coaching service.
- If community and meeting other trainers would boost your business, then Trainer Talk is here for you.