Certification is NOT the right business model for most people

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.

There are two prerequisites to starting a certification or licensing program

[Creating a Certification Series – Part 4]

When people ask me about creating a certification program the first thing I always check in on is whether or not they meet the two criteria for starting a successful certification. 

First – a PROVEN business model

The main benefit for a person to become certified is that they are getting access to a proven, successful model – one that they can plug into their own business and use (vs. them trying to build from scratch and figure it all out on their own.)

Have you created success with this model in your own business? And for how long? I want to see at least 2-3 years of being successful with something before turning it into a certification. 

If you are newer to your model and haven’t proven it’s success yet focus on that first! Spend the time to create success for yourself/your own business first so that you can then teach and certify others from a place of integrity and alignment.

Second – your OWN proprietary IP (Intellectual Property)

Your IP is the foundation of your certification. It’s the very thing that people are buying from you… and it needs to be yours.

I occasionally see people want to start a certification off something that they learned from someone else. Not only is this super ick on an integrity level, it’s also breaking copyright agreements/laws and may get you in some serious legal trouble.

If you want to teach something that you learned from someone else, check in with them! They might have an option for you to become licensed to teach their materials or maybe partner with them (This is how my Certified OBM Trainers got started back in 2017… when someone asked me if they could teach the program I had created.)

Create the kind of success that others want to create for themselves ← that is the first (and most important!) step

Interested in creating a certification? My Certification Accelerator will take your program from concept to first sale in 6 weeks – learn more here. 

What’s the difference between certification and licensing?

[Creating a Certification Series – Part 3]

Licensing is about the WHAT.

Certification is about the WHO.

Licensing is about saying ‘here’s my stuff, here’s what you can use and what you can/can’t do with it’.

Certification is about the person you are certifying – where you are training them in your proven process and then allowing them to leverage your brand/reputation in their own business. Where you are setting out requirements for them to earn their certification status. Where you are giving them tools and resources so they can create success following the path you’ve already laid out.

A license can stand alone and usually becomes ‘absorbed’ into the person’s existing program/business.  For example, I might license someone to teach my Hire Up hiring process in their own coaching program. They pay me to use my IP but they aren’t branded as a Hire Up professional.

A certification always INCLUDES a license within it – specifically laying out what they can and can’t do with the stuff they are learning. For example, when we train a Certified OBM® the license they are receiving (as outlined in their agreement) is that they can use what they are learning when working with their 1-1 clients, but that they can’t teach/share the material in groups or create other programs from it.

Either option can be amazing (and successful) depending on the goals of your business and how you want this to fit into the big picture. 💪

Interested in creating a certification? My Certification Accelerator will take your program from concept to first sale in 6 weeks – learn more here. 

3 signs that it may be time to create a certification program

[Creating a Certification Series – Part 2]

One of the biggest questions I get about creating a certification is WHEN? “Is this something I should do now or later?”

There is a ‘season’ of the business journey that I find especially ripe for creating a certification, and it will often include one (or all) of the following signs:

Sign #1 – People keep asking you “how did you do X? I want to do the same…”

They see your success. They see what you are doing. And they would like to create the same for themselves.

Sign #2 – People are using your stuff with their clients.

Yes, there is a lot of ick around this and we want to be purposeful to protect our IP so that people aren’t copying our stuff. I am all for that…

AND there could be a kernel of opportunity here… when your stuff is really good and it works, what if you could certify or license people to legitimately use it? And make money when they do?

Sign #3 – You are (secretly) tired of doing what you are doing

You created something amazing. And you’ve build a successful business around it.

But that doesn’t mean you want to keep doing it forever…

When I got tired of being an OBM for clients – I created the Certified OBM ® Training back in 2009.

When I got tired of leading that training – I licensed my Certified OBM Trainers to teach the program in 2017.

Sometimes our boredom can point the way towards some pretty cool things.

Interested in creating a certification? My Certification Accelerator will take your program from concept to first sale in 6 weeks – learn more here. 

Why are certification/licensing programs so hot right now?

[Creating a Certification Series]

Why are certification/licensing programs so hot right now? Two reasons… 🔥🔥

#1 – They are an awesome way for YOU – the business owner – to leverage your IP into a long-term, recurring revenue stream. One that requires LESS of your time and energy to deliver (especially once the program is up and running) and continues to make you money year after year… 🙌

It’s an ideal model when you’ve created an powerful process/methodology that you know works – that you’ve been using in your own business for years to create results for your clients.

#2 – A certification is a quick & simple way for your (potential) clients to start and/or grow their business!

It’s the difference between someone creating their thing from scratch – trying to figure out their own process/method through trial & error (which can take months or even years!)

Vs. them taking what YOU have already created, plugging it into their business and fast tracking to success because they are using something that works. 💪

It’s a true win-win model – huge value for both sides!

When I created my Certified OBM® training years ago I was able to give my students everything I had learned already to be a successful OBM. All the knowledge, tools and processes they needed… so instead of them having to figure it all out they had the path laid out for them.

It’s been the backbone of my business for over 10 years now, providing a healthy income for me month after month with only a few hours of my time required… and launching the businesses of thousands of Certified OBMs who are out there rocking it. <– Doesn’t get any better than that! 💜

Interested in creating a certification? My Certification Accelerator will take your program from concept to first sale in 6 weeks – learn more here.