Might sound funny to say – but folks taking and using your “stuff” may be a sign that it’s time to start a certification or licensing program.
I had this conversation with someone last week who shared that some of her past clients had started using her materials with their clients, and she wasn’t sure how to handle it.
“I’m really quite mad about this – what makes them think it’s OK to just use my stuff?”
I agreed with her of course – this is so frustrating when it happens!
And then I asked her:
“Have you ever considered offering certification or licensing? Folks obviously like your stuff and want to use it with their clients… so perhaps there is an opportunity here to make it official?”
She hadn’t really looked at it this way, and we came up with a strategy for her to reach out to folks to 1) give them a loving reminder that they aren’t allowed to use her IP and 2) to see if they would be interested in becoming certified so that they could use it legitimately.
Yes, we still need to protect our IP and reach out to folks if/when they are using it without the proper permission… sometimes folks need a reminder of this.
And there is a certain elegance to harnessing what is already happening – people using your stuff – and looking for a potential win-win. Folks get to use your stuff legitimately and you are paid (valued) for the IP that you’ve created.
I know this isn’t the best path for everyone as I know many folks who don’t want to do certification programs – but it is certainly worth a pause to consider if this comes up for you.