Hi all. I thought I’d write an answer to a question I’ve gotten a lot lately. The question usually comes in the form of what workshops or in-person classes do I have coming up. I figured I could answer it publicly here, so you have a better idea where I’m at on this.
For those that don’t know, I used to do quite a few workshops and in-person seminars and classes. I worked at Kelby for 10 years and traveled several times a month doing seminars and conferences. When I left Kelby, I did do some of my own workshops each year as well.
For me, the workshops weren’t bad because (once I was out on my own) I had better control over how many I did. But I will say the seminar and conference circuit took its toll. I’d regularly amass 100-150K miles on Delta each year. And while some consider those milage milestones a badge of honor (sure, I did get upgraded a lot), I look at it as it just means I was spending a lot of time away from family and my personal life.
The 2020 Blip
Just as a quick side, note. Covid of course forced me to stop workshops in 2020. But in a way, before 2020 I was already there. I was only doing 1 or 2 workshops a year. But I want to make sure you know that my choices going forward have nothing to do with Covid at this point. To me, it is FAR in the rear-view mirror, and has been for quite a while.
I only mention this because I know there are a lot of people annoyed at companies (I am) using Covid as an excuse for anything. And I just want you to know that it has nothing to do with my choices going forward.
As far as where I’m at now, my business is 100% online. And it has been for years. My workshops did contribute to my income, but 90+% of it was still always from online training.
I do get asked by people to teach more in person workshops as well as do some traveling seminars like I used to. But the problem with that is it takes a lot of time to support, plan, market, and pull off in-person training. So when I did do anything in person, the online part of my business suffered. Essentially, I was putting the hundreds of thousands of people who follow me on hold, so that I could teach to maybe 10, 20 or maybe even a few hundred people in person. If I did do more in person stuff, sure some of you would get some great in person training for a day or two. But 99.999% of you reading this would hear/learn much less from me.
From there, you could say “Just hire some one to do it”. Well, back when I was at Kelby I was manager of a team there. And while I really enjoyed my career, if I look back on my most disliked moments of my time there, managing those people ranks at the VERY top of it. It was just a constant stream of whining, complaining, competitiveness, jealousy, HR meetings, useless performance reviews scales of 1 to 5, toxic “he said/she said garbage”… you name it. My door was revolving – the moment I got to sit down to actually work and create, some one else walked in with another problem. Now, in fairness – that was 100% driven by me. I thought, at the time, I wanted to be a manager. But it was a great lesson learned that I simply do not – and I’d be silly to repeat it right?
Between my wife and I, we do EVERYTHING for the company. Marketing, website maintenance, finances, emails, content, graphics, design, accounting, you name it. We do have my wife’s sister (the amazing Stephanie, if you’ve ever emailed in) help out with customer support, but that’s it.
If I started more in person training, it would mean having to hire some one (or multiple people) to help run it. And that is something I learned about myself, that I just don’t want to do.
For me, success is not just how much money my business makes, how many employees I have, and how many miles a year I get to travel (and I used to think it was). For me, it’s about whether I can have the time to spend with my family, on my personal hobbies, to travel (without having to work while I do it), AND to make an income that allows me to live the life I want.
So for now, MattK.com will be run by my wife and I, 100% online, with no in-person workshops other than a few events that I speak at throughout the year. Thanks!
I couldn’t agree more with you Matt. So much more to life than money and travel,
Matt, you’ve figured out what you really enjoy doing the most, and what you do best. By focusing on doing those aspects of your business to the best of your ability, it gives you the best opportunity to continue to grow your business and enjoy your life. I was a regional sales engineer for 35 years, lots of time in hotels and traveling; enjoyed it (kinda miss it at times), but it can wear you down. Note: Prior to going into sales I was a manager and understand exactly what you’re talking about when it comes to dealing with employees and their myriad of issues; the crazy stories I could tell. Congratulations on what you’ve done thus far.
I love your philosophy on teaching/training as expressed here. I have, over the years, attended several Scott Kelby seminars, and while I learned a lot, I found the online training to be exceeding useful allowing for review and refresh viewings. And P.S. I would search for your videos as one of my favorite instructors (no BS, or flattery here, just the truth).
I’m glad, all these years later, to rediscover Matt K. and start re-learning and refreshing my photo learning.
Your Best decision to date!
If you enjoy getting out of bed & love what you’re doing, then you’re miles ahead of satisfaction at work!
Your online training for me, is the best! It feels like a 1-1 personal training session & I can always rewind an area to recap anytime, can’t do that easily in workshops!
I like the easy way to talk to us not too fast to enable us to grasp the work. And the little chit chat as you go makes it personal.
Keep doing what you’re doing, Matt, its awesome!
Just as not everyone is not cut out to be a manager, many are not good teachers. Had I not stumbled onto your courses I probably not have continued with digital photography and the post processing involved. The one word that always comes to mind when I think of you is perspective! I can be teetering on the edge regarding which software I must have, which one is best, what my workflow HAS to be and on and on and on. Your blogs and training have kept me sane and in the photography game. You have a gift for teaching.
Anytime I get caught up in the latest and greatest on social media, your perspective and your amazing ability to teach gets me out of the deep weeds. As I have told you before, you have made me better in spite of myself.
I absolutely understand the whys of your decision. Again “perspective.” You know what is important and you work towards being content. Traveling all over the country is not how it’s done. I did that during my working years. Drama and herding cats is no fun. Good on you Matt. I will continue to watch and learn!!
Ugh – after years attempting to manage a team, I so agree with you. And now your support team (*grin*) are absolutely brilliant – answered my sporadic queries so fast and cheerfully sorted out my moments of muppetry….. I’m in the UK so the chances of joining ‘in person’ are remote to none…. appreciate all you do, from afar!
Don’t blame you a bit. Have owned a couple of small businesses and sold both of them after having to deal with the employee’s mini drama and soap operas took all the fun out of it.
All I ask is just keep doing what you are doing especially if it puts a smile on your face, cause it puts one on mine.
Thanks Bob. I have friends that own small businesses and I quickly saw that their job wasn’t to run a business… it was to heard kittens all day 🙂 Best!
I concur Matt and think you made the right decision!
Thanks for what you do and thanks for all I have learned from you!
I’ll admit your description of the last Costa Rica trip had me sold, now that we’re both retired and can travel more. I had my husband just about talked into going on the next one.
I can understand your decision to stay home, but hope you still take time to enjoy your own travels. The two or three times we get out and see the world are always the high point of the year.
Online classes are wonderful. As I age it gets harder to understand and retain information. If it’s frustrating for me, it has to be doubly so for the instructor. Being able to replay an on-line lesson segment over and over is really helpful. So keep up the good work, and enjoy time with your family!
Bravo! Matt! More people should embrace the online environment. Its benefits do outway the drawbacks. As you state, in-person events are challenging and time-consuming to plan and execute. The time spent away from family is lost forever. The glamour of travel soon transforms into an obligation, not a choice. I have travelled for business (others and my own) for some 40 years. Now that I am retired, I not only reflect on the interesting places I have been and the great people I have met but most of all the trades I had to make and the “I wish I had…” My wish for you Matt and for your family is BeWell! Stay Safe! Be Happy! Ziggy of cartoon fame says” “Enjoy here while you’re here because there is no here there!
In Holland we have a cynical saying (don’t know how to translate exactly): I wish you a lot of co-workers/employees……
I just want to say: please do what you like. Follow your heart, it tells you the right thing to do. Enjoy the family and friends as much as possible and use the internet where it is for: sharing knowledge.
Just my 2 cents…..
Wow, Matt. Did this ring true for me. I know exactly where you came from. After many years in engineering, I was ‘promoted’ to an engineering manager. Ugh! I despised it and wanted nothing more than to go back to doing real engineering work and not managing a kindergarten. Never underestimate the importance of happiness in your work. Or, happiness in retirement, which is where I am now. Yippee. Every day is Saturday now.
Thanks Robert. That’s a perfect way to put it – kindergarten! 🙂
Hi Matt – I was very fortunate to attend many of your in-person workshops and seminars, and also to work closely with Diana at Photoshop Elements User magazine. Meeting you in person was great! I enjoyed getting away to Boston for a day or Las Vegas for a week. I loved that time and travel, but now I find that online conferences and classes are so much more productive for me. I can learn in the comfort of my home, practice what I learn instantly, and refer to the videos and digital downloads when needed. We’re in a different learning era! Not to say that I wouldn’t pop in to Boston to see you again…Wishing both of you the very best 2023.
Thanks Karen! Diana says hi too! 🙂
Good for you, Matt! And an important life lesson for everyone. Keep doing what you are doing…it works.