Certification is NOT the right business model for most people

Jan 25, 2022

Even though I’ve done it for years now, I can’t lay claim to having helped “hundreds” of people create a certification program… I’ve worked with “tens” of people over the years, not hundreds. (55 people to be exact – I just looked it up.)

Why so few? And why would I admit that? Isn’t that like some major marketing faux pas!

Well… I don’t think it’s the right business model for most people. So I don’t market it to the masses.

There are certain criteria you need to have in place to be ready (as I shared in this post). Plus it’s not a business model to be taken lightly.

There are bigger picture considerations to really think through.

Are you willing to risk your reputation? What if you certify someone and they suck? <– biggest fear of most folks I work with (and one that can be mitigated).

What about creating your own competition? When you certify people to ‘do what you do’ then there are more folks out there who do what you do. (Which can be fine of course, AND is a very real consideration.)

There are A LOT of nit picky little things you need to be aware of and ready for – legal, structural, curriculum, IP, licensing, renewals, etc. You want to think through and make decisions on ALL of these things before you enroll your first student, otherwise you are putting your business and brand at risk. (I have a Master Decision Checklist that I work through with my clients so that we don’t miss anything.)

Certification is not a model where you can just ‘jump in and make it up as you go’… there is simply too much at stake. Other business models allow for that – heck, I’ve done that many times myself with other training and coaching programs I’ve started! – but it doesn’t work for certifications. When I started my OBM Certification 13 years ago I was making it up as I went, and believe me… I’ve made plenty of costly mistakes along the way because I didn’t know better. Ooof.

It also takes TIME… probably more time than you might think to bring it to life. I’ve had clients take a year or more to prep and build before launching their certification, which might seem like a long time in our fast paced online world, but allows them to do it right, at the right time and set the stage for long term success. (I was just talking with a client today who is about to launch her certification that we started working on together 15 months ago… she’s done an amazing job working through all the little bitty things and her program is smoooooking hot!)

Certification is my favorite business model for sure – AND I’m also aware it’s not the right one for everyone. So I’m never going to market it as the “hey world, this is the latest and greatest thing that everyone should do!” Because it’s not…

If you are thinking about certification or licensing and wondering if it is the right model for you feel free to email me – I’m happy to chat through a few things to help you decide.


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