This is Part 1 of a series of posts I’ve wanted to write since I started WorkshopBank back in 2009.
Right now, WorkshopBank is gearing up to release something that I’ve been dreaming about since 2014. It’s taken 3 years to get to here, and I’m feeling a mixture of restlessness and excitement.
More about that later. First …
An apology for being so silent on the future for so long
It has been a long time since I last posted anything other than new workshop activities on the site for you.
April 2014 was when I really started to take WorkshopBank more seriously and since then we’ve gone on an incredible journey of growth.
Back then, we had a little over 2,000 people visiting the site each month and no paying customers (there were no products to buy back then!)
These days the picture is pretty different.
If I don’t count December (a lot of people seem to disappear from work around that time for some reason) then the site is attracting nearly 20,000 people each month and a large proportion of those people are signing up to receive updates.
I spend a lot of my time helping people for free who have questions about the various activities they have been looking at and thanking them for saying such lovely things like…
I love the generosity of sharing WorkshopBank's highly designed and well developed templates / methods.
Chief Creative Officer Gconsultancy Innovation
What you publish on your website delivers academic value and is ready to use.
Managing Partner at Blitz Design ME
I stopped writing posts like this one so I could focus on really trying to understand what problems exist in our niche and how we might help to overcome them.
So I haven’t written an update for a long time; I’m sorry for that.
So why am I back?
I’m back because after all this time I’ve got something truly new to tell you about … and I want to tell you the story of WorkshopBank.
I’m back because I finally have something to say again.
More about that later. First, let’s take stock of …
Where We’ve Come Over the Last 6 Years
Before I started WorkshopBank, I had been an independent consultant going on 8 years working on change projects in the UK that impacted tens of thousands of schools and hundreds of thousands of children and their families.
When the funding for our programmes dried up in 2008 because of the financial crash I was left with a lot of great relationships, a boatload of experience and all these fantastic tools and activities.
I then moved country to Denmark with my girlfriend (Louise), a 1 year-old daughter and started a new life far from home.
Luckily Denmark is a great place to live once you get used to the odd food, lack of sunlight / warmth in Winter and impossible language.
WorkshopBank began as a thank you
I started publishing the tools & activities I’d learned and used in the UK as a way to pay-it-forward for the amazing support I’d received before.
I had a lot of things to say about workshops, events and facilitation and I thought sharing tools & activities in an easy-to-read format would help others.
I also launch WorkshopBank because I had a philosophy about how meetings should work.
That is: I think every meeting should be an interactive, empowering experience for everyone involved.
I also believe that people who understand how to run interactive meetings (workshops) have all the skills they need to become top leaders in this day and age. The world needs as many of us as possible.
What Happened After I Launched (And What Has Happened Since) Still Amazes Me
There’s not enough space here to give a play-by-play of what’s happened since WorkshopBank launched. Maybe I’ll write that blog post one day. But suffice it to say that I wake up nearly every day, pinch myself, and stand in awe of what has been accomplished (although we still have so, so far to go; we’re maybe 1/20 of the way there).
Here are some stats on WorkshopBank…
- More than 250,000 people have visited the site.
- 47,000+ tools & activities have been downloaded by more than 11,300 people from 191 different countries.
- 8,743 emails received saying thanks and suggesting improvements (many of which have been implemented).
- 568 paying VIP Members who have trusted us to continue releasing high quality content for many years to come (and will benefit from significant money discounts on future products).
- 2 world class online courses created on facilitation with hours of high quality videos - all with the goal of educating facilitators across the world.
I’m proud of how we are changing the industry, setting new standards, and making a difference in the lives of tens of thousands of professional facilitators and trainers.
As far as I’m aware WorkshopBank is still the only website out there who is willing to give you the Powerpoint and PDF versions of each tool completely free of charge.
For me, that has always made sense as I know how much time is wasted creating great looking slides and presentations.
But I know there’s a lot more that can be done
Don’t get me wrong. I love what I’m doing and I’m glad you get such value from it. It warms me to the core (which is important in snowy Denmark).
I get lovely emails like this one on a daily basis
Love your tools. They are inspiring and practical. Thank you for sharing.
Change, Organization and Leadership Consultant
But I also know there’s a lot more to be done for people like Celeste.
And I’m fully aware that WorkshopBank is in a unique position to help given the size of our incredible community.
One thing I absolutely love about the kind of people that answer the call in life to become a facilitator, trainer or coach is that you love to help people. I know you do because I feel it too.
Over the last 3 months (since the beginning of October) I’ve had a deep look inside myself to try and figure out how large our aspirations should be.
Since launching WorkshopBank, my desire to make a bigger impact has grown substantially. We’ve come far, but from Day 1 my sights have always been on going so much further.
What should WorkshopBank be in 3 years time?
How can we serve you even better so we provide you more value on an almost daily basis?
Answering these questions has forced me to take the most difficult decision yet.
To achieve the goal:
- I’ve started hiring staff.
- I’ve set aside a significant war-chest to finance the next 2 years.
- I’m taking on investment to help ensure that the step we take next has plenty of resources to guarantee success.
Last Summer I decided to start building the infrastructure and architecture necessary to support thousands of customers.
Not just in terms of technology, but also with regard to people, processes, systems, marketing, sales, services, etc.
- August 2016 we changed the technology that drives our ‘NEW TOOL’ emails so you get them in a more regular and consistent manner.
- September 2016 we went through a roots and branch rebranding process changing logo, colours, fonts, styles and feel.
- October 2016 we changed our hosting provider to a much better partner to provide a home for our website. This is why it’s so much faster than before and why it works so much better on mobile.
- November 2016 we started work on something completely new (I talk more about this below)
Obviously you don’t do these things if your aspirations stop at creating a comprehensive library of workshop activities.
My vision has always been to build something much more immense.
And next week I’m going to reveal the beginnings of what we’re creating.
So Now We’re Restless
The important thing to note is that …
On January 24th, I’m going to show you how we’ll change the game.
When WorkshopBank first came out, we provided you tools & activities for you to run at your events and workshops. Simple to understand and accessible to everyone for the first time.
And on January 24th we will have something entirely new to show you that we believe is another first in our industry.
Everything will continue with the current site. New tools every week submitted by the smartest facilitators and trainers in the world. Nothing changes there.
What we reveal next Tuesday will be revolutionary and it is in addition to what you currently have available to you.
Mark your calendars for January 24th.
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Sounds really exciting Nick. I love what you’ve done for our industry to-date so I’m looking forward to seeing what you have planned here. Fingers crossed it’s something to help us develop more business!
Could be Mike. Could be. Thanks for leaving a comment.
Greetings from sunny Australia! ‘Revolutionary’ is a strong word to use Nick. That often means there will be winners and losers. I hope people like me in a L&D environment will be on the winning side 🙂
It is a strong word Susan and I don’t use it lightly. Our announcement on Jan 24th will reveal all but I don’t think I’m giving anything away by letting you know now you will be one of the winners.
As a lifelong learner and as someone who has dove straight to a role that isn’t my comfort zone, I continue to be thankful for the help and support that you provide and I eagerly await what’s coming.
It’s a pleasure John. I can’t wait to tell you more 🙂
Sounds exciting, can’t wait to hear what it is!
All will be revealed Tuesday Sarah!
Sounds intriguing! keep me posted
Will do Jan. You’ll hear more very soon.
All the best with the new launch, its a great concept and if you are excited ,I am excited for you. Look forward to seeing what you are palnning
I am excited. Really hope you like it!
Hi Nick, Happy New Year! I look forward to 24th Jan and what this means for 2017.
All the best!
Happy New Year to you too Patrick. See you on the 24th 🙂
That sounds exciting, Nick! You’ve got my attention. Counting down ’till Jan. 24th!
Great to have you with me Karen and judging by your lovely website I think you’re going to like what this is!
Looking forward to it! I am really enjoying the inspiration from you site!
Best regards from cold and dark Norway 😉
It’s not a lot warmer here in Denmark Katy! Probably a little more light though. Thanks for commenting 🙂
Great news about whatever that is being revealed because from what you have already done I am certain that it will be something fantatic and will help a great deal of people.
So, even if I am not one of them and am not on the winning side (cos life plays out like that sometimes) I want to wish you the best and thank you for the spirit the generosity and the quality of the service (prompt replies, flexibilty & understanding etc) you provide.
Absolutely in the spirit of holistic T&D that is nowadays not always present in the world.
Cheers & here’s to you and your new adventure,
“… will help a great deal of people” – that is certainly the idea Renuka! Thanks for your kind words-
You have intrigued me – looking forward to next Tuesday.
See you then Graham 🙂
Sounds exciting news. I am curious ??
I think you’ll like it Marie-Agnès for sure!
Can’t wait to hear your news! We certainly need something positive to look forward to this month. You always have such wonderful ideas.
Thanks Nancy. Great to hear from you again. Here’s looking up for 2017 🙂
Totally intrigued! Cannot wait to see/hear about what is next!
Not long to wait now Demetria!
Nick, your passion and integrity to others is humbling – I count myself lucky I have discovered your outstanding website. Dare I say it’s moving from great to greater!
That’s very nice to hear Daniel. I sincerely hope you like what’s coming.