Best Practices For Scaling Your Business Through Licensing And Certification with Darron Padilla and Josiah Owens

Join me, Pamela Slim, as I dive into the world of certification programs with guests Darron Padilla and Josiah Owens. In this episode, we explore the ins and outs of building certification programs for professional service businesses. Discover the stages businesses need to go through to prepare for licensing and certification, and learn about the different types of certifications available. We’ll discuss the importance of good content design, practical application, and creating a seamless learner experience. Whether you’re looking to develop your own certification program or enhance your existing one, this conversation provides valuable insights for professionals seeking growth. Don’t miss out on the secrets of successful certification programs!

Here’s what you can expect from this episode: 

  • Unlock business growth by building certification programs tailored to your professional service business
  • Design and customize certification levels to establish industry expertise and increase credibility
  • Strategically align your certification design to meet the unique needs and goals of your business
  • Maximize revenue and protect your intellectual property with strategic pricing and licensing agreements for your certification programs
  • Stand out from the competition and attract new clients with the numerous benefits that certification programs offer

Resources mentioned in this episode: 


Go to Show Notes here.

Here’s the transcript:




Welcome to another episode of the Widest Net Podcast. I’m your host Pamela Slim, and I am joined today by my guests Darron Padilla and Josiah Owens. Josiah Owens is a dynamic leader with over ten years of experience in process improvement, strategy change, leadership, HR and talent stewardship. He excels in infusing stability and focused energy into work environments, driving business value and enhancing the people’s experience. With a background spanning retail, manufacturing and tech, his career has revolved around nurturing organizational effectiveness through people.        


After obtaining a degree in Managerial Sciences from Georgia State University, he further honed his skills at Georgia’s oldest consumer products organization. There, he spearheaded learning management system integrations and acted as an in-house SME that’s a subject matter expert for learning and development. Josiah’s journey also encompassed roles as lead learning design collaborator and HR business associate for a global conglomerate. There, he orchestrated enterprise learning and culture development for 130,000 plus employees, contributing to vision workshops, strategy sessions and de andi initiatives. Since kicking out a Master’s program in organizational Development in HR, as one does from Georgia State University, he took on employee experience and staffing for one of Atlanta’s most prominent consultancy firms, renowned for its top workplace achievements.        


Our other guest, Darron Padilla, is also a seasoned organization development consultant with 20 years of experience helping organizations transform their leaders, cultures and teams to meet business strategies. His holistic approach aligns people, processes, tools, strategy and culture to increase adoption, sustainability and maximize ROI. Darron makes change initiatives practical and tactical for his clients, while coaching and engaging leaders through the process. Darron’s career spans multiple industries: healthcare, high tech, finance, biotechnology, energy consulting and government. He’s worked from startups to global organizations and managed budgets of $30 million with virtual teams all over the world.        


Darron holds a master’s of organization development with honors from Pepperdine University. His graduate research focused on what leadership characteristics impact followership in American Millennials that influences his work with leaders. Today. He’s a certified Project Management professional through the Project Management Institute, a certified Green Belt in Lean Six Sigma through Purdue University and a certified Scrum Master through the Scrum Alliance. Darron and Josiah, welcome to the show.        


Welcome. I’m excited. Well, Darron and I go way back. We worked together for many years in Silicon Valley, which is when I fell totally and completely head over heels in love with him and his work, which I found just to be amazing, highly complementary. And as you can see by his experience, it’s really been shaped and formed through the decades through lots and lots of practical work experience.        


We’ve had the great fortune and good luck to work with Josiah as well, who is amazing in his own magical and wondrous ways. And what I always love whenever the three of us get together is there seems to be this kind of secret sauce where one idea can impact the other. So I really look forward to digging in today and I want to frame our conversation today with just a little bit of background. So as you’re following along, you’re thinking about your own journey, especially for professional service businesses, that you can understand and conceptualize the different stages that you need to go through in order to get ready for licensing and certification. So the first one is what we call the Success Model.        


And this is where when you’re looking to scale your business through licensing and certification, you need to be passing through some distinct stages. The first one is specialization, and that’s a strategic choice where you’re going to lean into solving a specific problem, challenge or aspiration. And you move from what I call just showing up and creating magic in the room with your intuition and genius to where you notice the frameworks and methods that most frequently get the best results. As a professional service provider, if you spend too much time for you just having to jump into a room and create magic, it gets very tiring. And so when you begin to specialize, notice the frameworks and methods you use, it also relieves some of the pressure on you where you can be more methodical and let your methods support you in your work.        


The second stage is Codification, and this is where you might take especially the most powerful method that you’re interested in scaling into a clear and coherent and effective set of steps. At this stage, other people in your team could deliver that magic to your clients without having to have you in the room. Darron, Josiah and I call this the Thumbprint Method that focuses on three areas. The first is Market Fit, which is really, will it sell? Is this something that people want in the market and that you have positioned in such a way where they see it will solve their problems?        


The second is Method or will it work? Have you designed this method to be effective consistently over time with people other than yourself as the founder delivering it? And the third is model or will it stick? Are you communicating this idea in a clear and compelling way that people can use over and over again and hopefully tell everybody they know how great it is so that everybody wants to work with you and your organization? So this Codification process is really a way in which you can create that very, very solid framework and get ready for the next stage.        


The third stage is Connection, and that’s where you build your visibility, work and thought leadership for your method. It’s where you build the audience that wants the magic because you’ve talked about how effective it is. You might be appearing on stages, on podcasts, writing articles, white papers, showing up at conferences. This is the way that you need to be building a solid market demand for what you have in order to go into the fourth stage, which is Scale, which is really where certification and licensing fits. This is where you’re creating very specific programs that train others how to use your methods and you give them a licensing agreement for exactly how they can use your IP and materials.        


So with that context, Darron, you know, I tease you all the time about being the person who has probably taken the most certifications and you have a great joy for them. What have you found to be the components that make a great certification design?        


I’ve done lots of certifications, different kinds from certificates all the way to certifications, where you require continuing education units to keep your certification going. One of the things that I look for is really the design of the content itself. So I look at anything that has good foundational knowledge and then it builds good certifications and is also going to have the ability to test for your knowledge. So it’s a little bit of practical knowledge, like how are you going to use it in situations, but also understanding the definitions of the methods or the models.        


And the other part that I really like is if it has any sort of activities in it, so especially when it’s around real life situations, that helps you put into practice what you will learn. So that’s really important. So that way there’s the knowledge and the learning and then you kind of do something that’s kind of practical and tactical in a real life situation. That’s the part that I really enjoy. And then the other one is how you can connect too.        


If it’s a Cohort Model, that’s always interesting to me because then I can connect with others who are maybe on the same journey, same industry, have kind of some of the similar experience. So it allows me to kind of build my network. So that’s kind of what I look for when I look for in the certification programs, wonderful well, and we’ll dig. Into some of the specifics in a minute. Josiah, you really are a scientist of method with your deep knowledge of both human behavior learning theory.        


And I’m curious, when you’re designing methods that can help people learn a particular skill or behavior, what are some of the drivers that you think about? Absolutely. For one, I always like to think about starting with the end in mind. So this concept of backwards design, if you will, as a method in and of itself. So many times when you’re getting ready to start something or you want to learn something, you go into activity mode in terms of trying to get things done and you do it with such a zeal, with best intentions.        


But you find at the end of all of that, if you’ve not thought about your intended outcome, you might have wasted a lot of time, a lot of resources. So really, starting with what are the intended results that you’re looking to gain, the intended learnings or outcomes that you’re trying to acquire, then stepping back into what good would look like in terms of evidence that you actually have acquired some of that learning or that you’re moving in the right direction and then even taking that a step back, further to then planning your steps. So if it’s enrolling in a certain class, if it’s building content, if you will, because that’s the arena that I know we’ve all played in at one point or another, that’s kind of where I tend to delve starting out, starting with the end in mind. I really appreciate that. And one of the things I know we’ve talked about a lot, Darron, especially with looking at the entire arc, when we think about where the end is in terms of a Certification Program, this is an example that, of course, when you were the one who was building it, you’re thinking, when can I have all my materials done?        


Sometimes, because it could be a lot of work to put it together, but we just think about just being done as having the materials done. We really think a lot differently. And Darron, you’ve influenced my thinking a lot about this, of when the journey starts for your audience, who is, let’s say, a participant in your certification program. How do you think about that journey for them? It’s not just when do they go through the program, but kind of how do you conceptualize and think about and plan for that entire journey of the participant who’s getting certified?        


Yeah, I always look for the learner’s experience, trying to get them. The greatest experience from the very beginning is how do I find information about it? Where do I go to sign up? Is it pretty easy for me to sign up? Where do I go for questions?        


Do they have kind of FAQs there, so somebody who’s curious, but not necessarily ready to kind of sign up quite yet, having that available more than likely will move people to enrolling and then a constant contact with the learner. So those who have signed up, then it’s, I always like to receive a welcome message. It lets me know that I did something right in the sign up. So it’s like, Congratulations, welcome to the class. Here’s information about it.        


Here’s where you go. I love when they learn or use the learning management systems or something similar where it’s a website you can go to and I can download my materials. I could probably take the exam there. I could read more information, maybe connect with other classmates. That’s super helpful during the program, because now I know it’s just one place to go to find anything that I need and then after the course is done, a place to go for any other questions.        


So where do I go to take my final certification exam? How does that work? How do I connect with others afterwards? So I kind of look at what’s the support model after they’ve done with the certification. And a lot of it is troubleshooting, answering questions and then also thinking about what’s next.        


So if you have multiple programs, this is always a good idea, saying, oh, now that you finish this part of the certification, you may be interested in some of these others. So I really like that because normally I wouldn’t find those necessarily by searching online, but I like that it’s brought there and it’s connected to what I already learned. And I like that when thinking about it for the promise, it depends and we’ll talk in a second about different types of certifications and different types of learners and programs, as Josiah was saying, working backwards for the experience. Certainly when somebody is signing up for your program, you’re wanting to make sure that you’re fulfilling the promise of whatever it is that they’ve signed up for. And when you’re thinking in a bigger way at the bigger picture, for example, of how it is that you’re helping somebody to develop professional development in a particular area, but you might be thinking ahead, as you were saying.        


Darron to other things that either you could develop or maybe somebody else could develop knowing that that deeper learning and desire for that maybe individual participant would be to continue to grow in their career. It backs up into my philosophy around The Widest Net, which is you don’t have to be building everything in your business for your ideal customers, but you might be thinking about what else they will need in order to continue on the journey. So in the case of somebody who is taking maybe a certificate program just for professional development, are there other important resources that could just help them leverage that, for example, into a promotion? On the other side, if you have somebody who’s taking a certification program maybe to utilize tools that you have developed in their own business. One of the really common things that we see on our agency side is that people need tools in order to know how to market, to get other people, because that’s often a driver that encourages them to sign up for the program itself.        


And I want to talk in a second about that, because that can be a little bit unique, where you can’t always promise to both deliver a solid certification program so somebody has complete knowledge and capacity and the skills for your program, and to have the complete knowledge and capacity and skills to sell them. That can often be a little bit of a different topic. But this is an example, I think, of looking ahead for that, knowing why people are signing up for different programs and really planning for that, as Darron is painting this picture in this much bigger container. We both work together in change management and that in many ways is really hitting a bigger change management perspective. What’s all information, tools, resources, support, encouragement they need to accomplish this overall program.        


Darron, tell us about the four different kinds of certifications that people can be thinking about. If you are a service provider, maybe you’ve passed through some of these stages already. You know you have a method that’s really exciting that you want to share. What are the four different levels of certification? All right, when we start with level one is what we call Certificate.        


That’s usually just kind of a knowledge based certification. So if you want to learn like Microsoft Excel, for example, you can get certified in that. So you’re going to learn the basics and you’ll take a basic knowledge exam just to certify that, yes, you have the skills and competencies to work on Microsoft Excel, for example, or whatever the certificate is. That’s the basic and pretty easy. Those are normally self paced.        


The next level two would be the Practitioner Certification. So this is somebody who is now going to learn somebody’s methodology or framework to use with their clients, right? So it’s becoming a practitioner in that individual’s intellectual property, their frameworks, their methods, their models, et cetera. And that one is going to be much more fit for purpose for the individual so they can use it in their own practice. Again, as a practitioner, that one.        


Some of the exams would be a little bit more in depth, so it’ll be knowledge based, plus it could be situational based. We include workbook exercises and those kinds of things. Because, again, you want to learn how to apply it in a practical setting, maybe with some of your clients and then some of those, depending on the type of certification of whether or not you need to demonstrate those skills and competencies with a particular client, for example, as part of your certification. Level three, now we’re moving up to a Trainer Certification. So this is where somebody wants to replicate their program.        


So it’s an already completed program, but they want to certify trainers to train that program. So you’re replicating coaches or trainers. So this one’s a little more in depth because now you are really certifying them to train the material, the information, how to facilitate those kinds of things. That one’s a lot more in depth. Again, the exams are going to be knowledge based, practice based, and it will include demonstration because the owner of the IP method needs to ensure quality.        


So they want to see demonstrations that yes, this person can deliver and facilitate exactly the way I want this program facilitated to more clients, let’s say. And the final level four, that’s the big Association Certification. That’s something like for me, Project Management Institute, right? That one is a large association. It requires continuing education units for you to maintain your license or your certification.        


I know ATD also has one. There’s one for business analysts. So any one of those where it is now setting an industry standard, predominantly globally, that’s what we call an association. So it is the same thing. Like we were thinking about a trainer and a practitioner together, but it’s larger because now it could have multiple courses.        


Now you want to set up how you want your CEUs. The length of time between recertification is something to consider too, as well. Yes. And CEUs is a Continuing Education Unit. So this is something I know that is a question that goes around in a lot of folks’ minds when they’re designing their certifications.        


It is an example of what you can create if you have a certification. Usually that is a higher level, I would say something that very specifically impacts people. As we were talking before about, there can be financial related certifications that have a huge impact if they’re not done well. Of course, on the human side, we know for things like coaching, you really want to make sure that you’re doing well in supporting people or healthcare related initiatives, which I know has been an area you’ve worked in, Darron. And in that case, as part of that certification design, in order for people to maintain their certification, they might also need to be receiving extra Continuing Education Units.        


And so usually there are a number of third party classes sometimes, and there could also be classes that the organization or association provides themselves, but that are ways that people can continue to be informal learning situations. Those continuing education units are ones that need to be validated by the association who’s giving the certification. So they have a specific recommended set of courses that have that designation. And that is something I know for people who are creating courses, that can be a really great thing. If the course, even before you decide to make it a certification, maybe you have a course or a method if that receives Continuing Education Units from an association filled with your ideal clients, that can actually be a really good thing on the marketing side, but it doesn’t always have to be that deep, right?        


That’s a big question that people have of exactly what do I need in order to feel comfortable that people are really continuing to maintain the skills that they need and the behaviors they need to be good stewards of that method? Josiah, what are ways that you think about just advising people? If they’re saying, should I include CEUs, should I have a deeper training? What are some of the questions, maybe that you ask clients to know ? Yeah, maybe a bit nontraditional, but I think it’s necessary.        


One word why? So I say, why? Because I want to challenge whoever the client is to think about why they would advise even someone to step through it. So it’s kind of in a way shifting the question back to them to ask Why? Because CEUs are an option.        


Different training types, if you do a train, the trainer or different models, those are all options, right? And we can do any of those things. But I think the question, more so that I’d want them to really think through and unpack is why, if they were to go the CEU route, what would they hope to get? Is it just continued engagement kind of how does that then impact other things that they want to get done? Does that speak towards their other strategic goals?        


Because even though the client might be delivering a service for another client or customer of theirs, kind of how does that fit in with their strategic goals? I think that it’s a broader picture to make sure that even though we’re technically removed from their organizations, we get to kind of remind them of how does this connect with the broader strategy and it to a degree brings a different value to the project, as opposed to just saying, hey, yeah, sure, do it. How does this really connect? Have you thought about kind of the next step after this? So you’ve gotten this done.        


What else is there? Because I think there’s always going to be something else that you might want to do. And having those conversations early I found to be especially valuable. And it helps to challenge clients to think ahead and be a bit proactive even in terms of their offerings as well. I really love that because it is the right question, it’s the simplest one word question, but it’s so powerful that somebody might say, because that’s what my competitor does, or because that’s the way that I was trained and therefore everybody should be trained that way.        


I know Darron, in some of the projects we’ve been working on, especially within equity inclusion kinds of projects, that there have been some great responses to the why question, even in thinking about evaluation. Do you want to share some of the insight we’ve kind of talked about with that, where people are saying we don’t necessarily want to just do a hundred question pass or fail for some of the certifications? Yeah. So this is what’s unique about the exam. So similar to what Josiah is saying of the Why.        


Mine is really trying to help them understand what does a certified person look like to you that makes you feel, yes, they can demonstrate using my method or model or framework, so that’s usually where I start. And then same thing. Then you can go backwards, then you can identify. Does it need to have a knowledge exam? Maybe it isn’t, maybe it’s more situational.        


Maybe they have to do a case study as part of it. And it’s not a multiple choice exam that they got to take at the end. It could be a project that they start. So certification could be building a project all the way to the end and then presenting it back out to the class in a way of using the frameworks. So it’s really talking with a person who is creating the certification.        


What does that look like for a good person? That is using your method or framework accurately, right? So that’s kind of what I do. And there’s different ways. And in fact, there was one certification that had no tests.        


The way they did that was throughout the course, they would do kind of one on one interviews to see how are they understanding the material, how are they able to deliver the material? So this one, they did have to do some demonstration, but there was no exam because this one, dealing with DEI, was so unique and so personal in their experience that the certification was helping them kind of design the certification around the way that they naturally deliver as a person. So there was some intrapersonal work that was done as part of that. So that was really cool and interesting and very different from some of the other ones. But like I said, there’s so many different ways that you can verify that somebody really, truly understands your method or framework.        


I love it. And one of the things I love the most about doing the work is it also pushes us who are doing the work to ask ourselves why as well. One of the things we find a lot, understandably, if people have not done a certification before, if they’ve never designed it before or delivered it, there can be the desire just to say, tell us exactly what it is that we should do. And I know we find as we get into that design, while there is, very clearly there are steps that help streamline the process, make it efficient, zero in on the key questions to ask as people go through it. The responses that lead to specific designs shouldn’t look exactly alike because people have different values, they have different audiences, and they have a different desire for control of the material.        


I know that’s one that a lot of clients are often asking about in terms of both intellectual property policy, like what are the things that would go into a licensing agreement for how people can use materials? And I’m a fan of using non-scientific scales, so I use it like, if one is Here you go, go nuts, do whatever you want. And ten is I am going to track every movement that you take with your IP. I have an IP attorney on retainer. I’ve actually met people who have that at the ready with their finger hovering over the cease and desist email to send it out to anybody who uses it inappropriately.        


I’m teasing a little bit. And not to make light of the fact that for some people, given how they feel about their own intellectual property, the desire that they have to really control how it’s used, there would be a very different kind of approach to what you would include in your licensing agreement, how you would be teaching it, and also how it is that you would be measuring it. And so to me, what I think is really interesting from the impact perspective. Many of you who have listened to this podcast for a long time know that it’s this combination for me in my last book, Body of Work, which is what are you creating that really has deep impact on the world that you’re very excited about creating and sharing with the world that meets this market, that is interested in The Widest Net, in finding as many places as possible for that IP to live. On the very human side, I think that’s where some business owners get a little bit stuck is they might want the impact but struggle with control.        


What does it mean if it gets out of my control? Any thoughts about that, Josiah or Darron?        


So that’s where we have that kind of control discussion because it’s coaching them to be comfortable with feeling uncomfortable about not having control. There are some things that you can do that helps them at least gather that it could be tools or templates, how they’re particularly used. Also it could be what we’ve done where you would actually have to purchase those directly from the owner kind of of the IP. So that’s one way you can kind of control at least some of your materials and information there. But sometimes it depends on how much do you really want to replicate.        


Because this is one of those, right? If you have a lot of control, then the spreading the seeds of your framework and methodology kind of to be used across industries is going to be a little bit more limited than, let’s say those are like, oh, I’m okay. If somebody makes a couple of copies here or there or at least just uses it internally in organization, sometimes that could spread out a little bit further. But again, it’s working with the owner of the IP to see what their comfort level is. Absolutely.        


I would add to that, just thinking about on the front end, how do you set expectations, that’s also been a big deal. And I think that also goes to who you choose to work with, even as a client and a customer and getting a feel right if something doesn’t seem right, certainly you wouldn’t want to do business with them in the first place. But there is a level of trust, certainly putting yourself out there and then also with others, trusting your framework as well. So obviously you should be sure to protect yourself and engage early and often the right IP subject matter experts. But really thinking about the people that you choose to work with, I think is also something that absolutely matters and also trusting that what you put together, while it can be used as a starting point for someone, your thumbprint is on that meaning.        


The way that you talk about it, how you’re passionate about it, the way that you speak to that, that is always going to be unique. And there are some things that. Can’t be duplicated in that regard, that’s. Really helpful because I think about it a lot. It’s such a common question when folks are considering going this direction.        


And there’s one distinction that I make, which is between a founder who often is the person who’s creating methods, models and IP, and the business and what it is that you want your business to do. The aspirations for your business, not everybody wants to scale. And that is perfectly okay if you don’t want to have revenue streams that really are larger, where your material is getting out with often multiple partners, where you lose that individual control of even knowing everybody who’s using it. When Darron was describing the different levels of certification for Train the Trainer, which we’ve had the experience and designing for some of our clients, that would be where your materials are shared inside a very large company. So you’re training trainers inside that company to be sharing the materials.        


All of you who’ve been inside large companies know. And even when you’ve been outside in the entrepreneurial world with individual tools, people share liberally, whether they have full permission or not. I’d like to try to think the best of folks. They’re not trying to cause harm. But you think about it, the more that your material and your model might get out there in the world of work, that there is less the opportunity you have for knowing everybody who’s going to be using it.        


And that, I think, begs a deeper why question for what Josiah was talking about, really, that’s more related to your legacy, your body of work, and especially where it’s something I know the area we like to work in, where what you’re creating is something that really helps the world. So I like to think, what’s the worst case scenario? It’s that frameworks, methods that I’ve used are helping people to be happier, healthier, more fulfilled, more equitable in other parts of the world. What that means is for the way that I am creating business agreements and creating partnerships for that which I am selling, I want to feel like there has been a good deal all the way around. Partners are getting great value and benefit, but also I, as the business owner in my business, are getting good financial returns.        


And so that’s where things like pricing come into play with licensing agreements, where you get very clear as to what people can use and not. And I think as Darron is saying, and as we’ve been talking about this whole time, it is an individual decision. But I love in the coach, in all of us as we’re prodding for this question of like, what really are you afraid of and what would be the worst thing that could happen? If you have a super healthy business where you have recurring revenue, you’re selling much larger licensing certification deals in your business, and there are some people in the fringes who are getting access to that? Is that the worst thing that could happen?        


And just to really have people sit with that and say, would you rather just control every single delivery of what you’re doing?        


Agreed. And that’s always a tough question. That’s always tough. And some people say no, right. And it depends whether they’ve been burned before, right.        


That’s sometimes a knee jerk reaction or you see it replicated somewhere. So some of those things to kind of consider. But all in all, yeah, mine is a little more trusting in the individual. And what’s interesting to also think about is, makes me think of in the trainer level three certification model is whether or not that certification allows them if that trainer moves on to another company. So that’s something to think about too, is once they’re certified, what are the limits of where they can use it?        


If it was a client based certification, like a corporation, is certifying trainers specific to this program? Right. Can they carry that on to another company if they move on? So those are some other things to kind of consider that’s right. And that’s all part of when we look at the big deal.        


And for folks who didn’t have this understanding before, really the simplest way that usually we describe Certification and Licensing is when you have a particular method program. The certification is the learning experience that people have to learn everything they need to know in order to use your methods and models your IP so that they’re a good steward of that material and that you as the business owner or your organization feels comfortable with them doing that. The licensing agreement is a legal document that summarizes what people can use for how long, for how much, and specifically who can use it. So in Darron’s last example, if you have a train the trainer, let’s say there’s a large company that wants to bring a program internally. Sometimes as part of that licensing agreement, there’s a company component where they have part of the fee, which is for the company to be able to utilize it and then it will be in a range of end users.        


So, for example, a pricing would be up to 2000 end users in the company who are the recipients of training by their internal trainers, what’s the amount per person so that you get that licensing fee? But the model would be that if they have people in their company who are the ones who were trained to be the internal trainers and those people leave, A: as Darron is saying, you have to decide in the beginning, can that person take those materials to another company? I probably would say no, for the most part, right. In general, that’s a little different. That would be like a practitioner certification.        


But then when that person leaves, the company would not be able just to throw anybody in to do that work. That person would, they would need to be replaced by somebody who would go through the complete certification again. And so one of the themes, I think that you’ve heard as we’ve been talking about everything around the design of the program, the overall customer experience and how you set up the business deal, is really thinking through all the components as you’re working on this with your clients. So what happens in order for people to get trained, but then what happens ongoing if there’s change in the company? Very often, especially these days, people don’t stay at the company forever.        


Sometimes very senior folks in companies leave. And so it’s also a good thing to do when you’re working on, let’s say, a bigger licensing deal, which is very exciting with a company that you make sure that you have decision makers in that company beyond maybe your individual contact. Because I’ve seen the heartbreak sometimes that happens is you have an individual champion for a program, and when that person leaves the company, you don’t have that same level of sponsorship. So these are the kinds of things that you really want to be thinking about. Are there any other tips as we’re winding down this conversation about what it is that you’ve learned about building certification programs that you want to encourage people with?        


I can share. Go ahead, Josiah. Yeah, so one of the things that I’d share is just a nugget of encouragement, is if you are thinking about doing a certification program, I think you’re in the best possible position, one, because you’re in a space to be able to be creative. So I just kind of want to affirm those of you who might be even considering doing it. You’ve got an idea.        


The fact that that is there that should be commended, it should be certainly recognized, and it shows that there’s a desire to get what you have out into the world. So it speaks to how you’re not trying to hoard information. You’re really trying to be a game changer and go impact the world around you. So I just kind of want to affirm those of you who are thinking even about going down this process and would also encourage you to ask questions. I know to a degree, you’re teaching other people so that they can learn, but embrace the fact that it’s going to be a learning experience for you as well.        


You’re not going to know how to do everything. You’re probably going to make some mistakes, but if you flip kind of a mistake, it really can become a learning opportunity. And so I wouldn’t shy away from it just because it might kind of feel uncomfortable, because, again, I see it as more of a growing pain. So be encouraged, especially if you’re even considering going down the path. I love it.        


Darron? Mine is really with the kind of the owner of the IP or really the founder is how do you want to maintain and manage this and how much do you want to participate with the learners. So this goes into how much time do you actually have. Hopefully you’re selling books and you’re doing other things and you got a lot of stuff on your plate. So looking at obviously if you’re doing live sessions all the time, that’s a lot of time to prepare for and be live on versus going virtual where you can have recorded videos and it can be self paced. So maybe you’re only there to do a coaching session once a month, which fits better into your calendar.        


So another thing to really think about is your involvement through the whole program itself. You could be as fully involved as you want, or you can be the least involved and have it a little bit more self paced. It’s something to also think about because there are pluses and minuses. And the last one back to what question Pamela talked about one of my favorite certifications. I love when they have a coaching component to it because sometimes, even if it’s self paced, I got a lot of questions and even talking with some of your cohorts, you don’t necessarily get the answer.        


So I like want at least one or two touch points in the program with a coach. So you can really ask your questions, help you get context, and then really help you how to apply it in a real life situation. So that’s important for me because then it makes it stick in my brain because I’ve had somebody that I can ask my questions and talk things through. I really appreciate that well, and I think for me it is going back to the success method that we talked about in the beginning. I have started to take a quite clear point of view. Clients will know, say that what I believe doesn’t have to be the same way that everybody believes they should run their business.        


That really is up to the individual business owner. I have seen so much evidence all the way around with business owners I’ve worked with, that when you begin down the path of more clearly codifying your methods and really focusing in on the ways in which you can make sure that what it is that you do works, that it’s sticky, and then you spend your time as a thought leader, Talking about that, having a focus in what you’re doing. It really helps your business whether you’re deciding to go full on to create a certification or not. The step that can come after certification is sale and it is also something that can really add value to a company. When you are considering a professional services firm, when you decide to retire or decide that you don’t want to be delivering anymore and you are excited about the prospect of selling it, there’s a whole number of things that people will look at in your business model.        


Do you have these repeatable well tested kinds of methods? Do you have a large customer base? Because you’ve done your work in connecting. If you happen to have a certification and you have partners, all of those are going to be strengthening the business model. So it’s not the only way to run a service business.        


But I have found that even very personally, it is less exhausting to not always have to show up and create magic. Many of you listening have huge magic. You can walk into a room, you can just do amazing things with the gifts that you have been given. But over time, God forbid anything happens to you and where you physically can’t be in that room. It is a way that you really limit your ability to impact people, and I think you limit the ability for your work to be helping others.        


So we hope we’ve shared just a little bit of insight into considerations in the Show Notes. We’ll have more of a link to the success model to Thumbprint so that you can have a frame that you’re thinking about. And if any of you like to have partners in doing this work, we at the agency love to help our folks build things. We have found that people have a hard time getting their own ideas out of their head. We can do it for everybody else, probably as each of us.        


Darron, Josiah and I have things to teach. We often need each other to bounce ideas off of so that we can help pull ideas out. But I really appreciate each of you so much and all the wisdom that you bring, always adding more mad to any kind of a conversation. So thanks for joining us. Thank you for having us.        


For those listening, make sure to check out the show notes at under the podcast tab. I want to thank my 31 Marketplace production team La’Vista Jones, Tanika Lothery, Jose Arboleda, and our award winning narrator Andia Winslow. Until next time, be sure to subscribe and rate the show and enjoy building partnerships, organizations and communities that grow our ecosystem.

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