I got into the training industry by accident. The company that hired me did so because I was a subject matter expert in the area they needed to deliver training. They sent me on courses to learn the skills and knowledge required to be an instructional designer, and I’m forever in their debt. I found what I was meant to be doing.
When I decided to go freelance, I knew that becoming well known for my knowledge and skill would help me get new clients. I had worked as an instructional designer for two companies for over nine years. Only a handful of people knew that online learning design was something I had a talent for. I attended a few webinars online with Anita S Horsley, and I got to know her a little. I saw that she was a frequent speaker at the Adobe Learning Summit in Las Vegas. My initial thought was that I would love to be a speaker at Adobe Learning Summit, but all these speakers were people with masters degrees in education, and some were even PhDs. I was just a guy who knew how to do some stuff in Adobe Captivate. Through Anita, I made contact with the folks at Adobe. Their initial reaction was lukewarm until they realized that I was the guy making all these YouTube videos. They invited me to be a speaker at the first eLearning Conference in Washington D.C.
I remember showing up at my first Adobe eLearning Conference in 2016. To say I was nervous would have been an understatement. My topic was Test and Track with Adobe Captivate 9 with Adobe Captivate Prime. I had my little PowerPoint presentation which I thought was so amateurish, and I just hoped that I would be able to hold it together to get through the one-hour session. The conference was a great success. My session went well, and many people recognized me from my YouTube videos. To date, I have been invited back an additional six times. Each time I participate in these live events, I get a little bump in business. I get home to more requests for training or design jobs than is normal for me.
Since that time I haven’t looked at my role in this industry the same. You can have all the education in the world, written scholarly articles that theorize about where modern learning trends are heading. What matters is your ability to create effective training. I no longer get nervous when I present at conferences because I didn’t spend all those years at a college earning a fancy diploma. Now I get nervous for other reasons, but I have confidence in the material I deliver. Remember you aren’t born an online learning expert. It’s something you have to work at. It takes time, and you will make mistakes, but in the end, anyone can do what I and others do. There is nothing special about any of us. We just put in the work.