“You don’t learn to walk by following rules. You learn by doing, and by falling over”

Nr 40. Online training from the catamaran

‘How do you organize your online trainings while sailing?’. I get this question a lot and I like to explain how we arrange this. I tried to explain it to the famous Vrouwtje van Stavoren last week (the statue here in Holland), but she kept staring at the IJsselmeer 😊.

How it all started
I have been a trainer for 20  years. I love my job and want to deliver trainings as long as I can. In 2018 we first got the idea of sailing around the world. We didn’t want to wait till our retirement. We wanted to start sailing while we were fit and keep on working and earning money while travelling. And since I love training, we thought of giving online training from the boat. I had experienced how easy online training can be done with software like Zoom, in 2016 and 2017 in the USA and Asia during conferences. So after buying the catamaran in July 2019, I started collaborating in November 2019 with Blended Communication BV, expert in organizing Virtual Classrooms, to set up my online trainings. My only concern in 2019 was: how many of my Dutch clients would be interested in online training….? That changed drastically with the Covid-19 pandemic of course, so I was ready and prepared to share the online trainings in my Online Academy from March 2020. It accelerated our decision to start sailing to the 1 May 2021. 

How to organize online training
So to summarize the above, you first you have to get these 5 criteria in order to deliver online training from an office on land:
1. have online trainings that are interesting
2. have clients that are interested in your offer
3. have a website with a webshop that clients can find and select your products
4. have hardware (laptop, headset, router, etc) and software (Teams, Zoom, Mentimeter account) 
5. have didactical skills to professionally deliver online trainings with confidence 

How to organize online training from the catamaran
When you want to do location independent training, like us from a ship, then entrepreneurship kicks in! For us it meant organizing these 5 extra things:
1. a router and extra strong antennas (see picture) that can pick up signals from telephone poles 18 kilometers in your surrounding area
2. a stable and quiet place to give your online trainings. Yes, I can deliver my training while Gilles is sailing up to 18 kilometers from the coast at open sea, but it’s not very comfortable and even dangerous because Gilles is doing all the sailing by himself. So I give my online training in a harbor on the catamaran which is tied to a stable pontoon. Usually we make a reservation for our boat to be sure we have a good quiet spot. We stay there usually for 3 or 4 days in a row to do online work.
3. a local simcard with the needed data (in the UK we could buy unlimited data for 40 pounds a  month). An online training in Zoom with 10 participants during 1,5 hours already takes 8 Gigabites, so with the usual 25 GB roaming a month from your Dutch provider, you won’t be able to do a lot of online work!)
4. always have 2 or 3 wifi opportunities available, so when one starts to slow down or stops, you can always switch to another wifi channel. With speedtest, you can always check if wifi is working at the required speed you need for your session.
5. reserve specific time blocks in your agenda to do your online work/training: you chose this life of travelling and working to have a good work/life balance. So if you keep on working 40-60 hours a week, then travelling isn’t possible anymore. And especially with sailing, you can’t do an online training of 2 hours on Monday, then Tuesday 1 hour, Wednesday again 2 hours. You better do this all in 1 day. So I  offer certain days in my Online Academy when I am available from 9.00-21.00u on those days. So I collect all my assignments during that period. It’s far easier to organize and clear for customers that this is the period that you do your online work. So during 1 month I offer certain days on which I deliver training and then I have 1 or 2 weeks free to travel before the next block of working time starts again.