Deciding to make a fundamental career change and then training to become a driving instructor is no mean feat. As the years pass by, it
is all too easy to dismiss such an achievement, but I hope you remain proud of your accomplishment. Having gone to such lengths to reach your goal, investing all that time, money and energy, you are presented with an opportunity to start up and grow your own business. Many people will envy you as they may never experience the challenges and rewards of being self-employed. At this point, you have a choice: either you sit back on your new-found skillset and endeavour to make as much money as you can, or you can keep learning, gain more skills and discover even greater rewards. As the world evolves, those who decide to rest on their laurels will often find that their skills gradually erode with time, making it increasingly difficult to achieve the same levels of success, let alone progress. Conversely, those who continue on the hunt for knowledge, different perspectives and new ways to operate will find the journey much easier, always moving forward to meet the next challenge head on.

Wood for the Trees

An ADI recently asked me to help her overcome a business management issue she was struggling with. I presented her with a solution that would require a minimal investment of her time in order to learn a new way of working. But rather than grasping the opportunity to learn and gain from the challenge, she gave up and continued with her original, less effective method. It surprised me that someone who’d invested so much time and effort into becoming an ADI was not prepared to invest a small amount of time to become a more efficient business owner. It would have made her working life easier, and the rewards even greater. The truth is that a successful ADI needs two key skills; teaching and learning. Self-motivation can be tricky for the best of us. So, what can be done to keep your business management skills fresh, inspire you to keep learning and ensure you leave the competition behind?

Avoiding Loneliness

Social media is all the rage, crossing all divides. Our generation may favour the likes of Facebook; your customers Snapchat or Instagram. Learning how to become a social media ninja, or just using it regularly and to a moderate standard, will be a huge benefit in raising your profile and attracting new students – it’s a must. There are two parts to it: learning the fundamentals about each of the major platforms, i.e. what they do, who uses them and why; the other, how to exploit them to promote your business. As with anything, the best place to start is with a cuppa, a computer and a search engine like Google. Type in “Learn how to use social media”, then read the articles and watch the videos. There may also be short courses or evening classes available. Failing that, ask your students, or your kids, for some help!

Learn the Lessons

Your technique – There are a number of companies and associations within our industry that provide courses to update your skills, help you overcome challenging learning situations or make you aware of different teaching methods. Your associations – there is always something to learn from colleagues, even if it is how not to do something. Learning how others have overcome business or teaching problems can open your eyes, and new skills can make your work easier and increasingly rewarding, helping you stay at the forefront of your profession. Why not start with local and national associations. Your audiences – what other types of drivers could benefit from your services? Nervous drivers, disabled or older members of the community struggling with the modern road environment who could do with a refresher course. Your tools – it’s all too easy to shun new technology, but I’m afraid that’s simply a lazy excuse for not learning. Technological developments are inevitable and make our world a better place. Avoiding it will undoubtedly cost you opportunities. The first question to ask of any solution is “how will this make my life better?” A small investment of positive interest can be enough to open doors, gain advantages and bring you greater and easier success. Progress leads to profit. Your reading – books and articles written by industry experts and read during down time, perhaps between lessons, can provide inspiration, new ideas and real revelations for your teaching and your business. It can’t hurt to have one at hand in your glove box for a little light reading. Your socialising – Get signed up to your local association, a national driving instructor association, and keep abreast of the latest goings on, products and training offerings, share ideas and even have a little bit of therapeutic off-loading with colleagues who understand and may have solutions from experience. Conferences can be a great way to network, learn and gain a professional boost.

The Proof of the Pudding

You worked hard to become an instructor in the first place, but just like driving, passing the test should just be the beginning of your learning
if you want to keep enjoying it and stay on the road. Is it time you practised what you preach?

MyDriveTime is the must-have driving instructor app that helps you manage your diary, students and money, so you spend less time on admin and more time teaching.