When teaching a workshop there are a lot of costs to consider, but the venue you teach from doesn’t need to be one of them.  I have taught hundreds of workshops at local bars and restaurants, and other interesting venues without paying them a cent.  Here’s how you can do the same.

MAKE SURE IT’S A WIN-WIN

Let me be clear, for the many workshops I’ve hosted, I’ve never taken advantage of a bar who let me use my space.  It is truly a win-win situation where I get to bring a group of paying customers who order food and drinks into their venue, and I get to sell tickets to my workshops.  If you can express your desire to promote the bar, respect it, and bring folks aligned with their target customer, you will likely find a good partner to work with.

PICKING A DAY AND TIME

The key to finding the right day and time is that your workshop timing will need to be flexible to when the bar is less busy.  Every bar has a different “schedule”.  This usually revolves around their specials, like Taco Tuesdays, or Wednesday Wing Night, Thursday Trivia… you get the picture.  Typically, Monday or Tuesday nights are easy for a bar to give you space to use for free.  But, I’ve had bars happily give me Wednesdays or Thursdays because they want to have something to offer on those nights.  Sometimes Sundays are dead, but for others, that’s overlaps with their super-busy brunch.  It’s all about having a conversation with the bar manager and finding a time that works.

ADDRESSING CONCERNS UP FRONT

Remember, remember, remember, you are a guest at someone else’s place.  They are opening their doors to you, letting you do some crazy craft that they really don’t understand, and they will have some concerns that you don’t leave a new abstract art feature on their floor.  It is best if you are the one to bring up the plan for how you will protect their beautiful tables, what types of materials (the messy ones) will be involved, and how you handle the workshop to prevent messes from occurring.  The more proactive you are, the easier it will be to gain someone’s trust that you have considered all possible circumstances.

Read more on how to control messes and protect venues in an upcoming post.