Recently, I was speaking to one of my students who is at the beginning stages of putting together his course materials for a new goal-setting program he’d like to market. It was to include written course materials on setting goals, exercises to complete, as well as a DVD to reinforce the major points.  His passion was to provide an Accountability Program to the students after the exercises were completed. 

This student has the affinity to lead others, but was already hitting a wall when it came to the organization of the written materials.  He wanted to know if it was an okay practice to borrow from some of the masters when it came to the teaching materials.

When is it okay to use somebody else’s material to start a new program of your own?

It truly is okay to borrow from an established program and adopt it as your own.  Many foundational pieces are very generic in their approach and therefore not protected by any kind of copyright laws. While using the material as a stepping stone you can fashion it with your personal take and create something new and distinctive as your brand.

If you haven’t personalized the actual material, a short-term buying option for students could be established as another option.   One could get a percentage from the sale of the original material until this material is adopted as your own.

Use the information as a foundation, and even more generic world-wide material, as you absorb this material into this portion of your own program. 

For the quick option, utilize theirs to jump start your program right away. Then be certain to personalize the program for yourself since you will invariably have difference in the way you implement the information.

There are many examples of businesses becoming established in this way. 

For instance, “Think and Grow Rich” is a profound book filled with ideas that have shaped the world.  It is now free material. The family of its author, Napoleon Hill, gave up the rights to it years ago.  Anyone can take that material and use it as their own without fear of copyright infringement.

Many people espouse the tenets of “Think and Grow Rich” and then do trainings around the lessons provided there. People get that book, adopt some of the components of it as their own, frame lessons around it and coach the principles found there. Seeing someone else’s generic material and using it as a foundation to move forward is perfectly acceptable. And truly, it’s done over and over and over again.

Follow this simple process:

  • Don’t reinvent the wheel
  • Utilize tried and true methods
  • Personalize the adopted material
  • Put your personal spin on the component most important to you

Anytime that you’re starting a business and there are already components of that business in operation that you can utilize as part of your company, use it. Don’t reinvent the wheel. Borrow and individualize the material from the people that already have components of that set. Utilize them and their services, their business, and their information as a stepping stone for you to get to your next level.

Taking it One Step Further

In addition, you can actually take your service and offer it to somebody else who has a different, but related, product as an up-sell for their clients.

For instance: a product is being sold, but the owners haven’t implemented a service component that could make a great supplement for that business. Your service component could be a wonderful extension of that product when offered to all of their students. Partner with them for this and every sale that is made from that company.

A lot of what I do is put together new programs for other speakers where  my coaching completes it. They may be speaking and marketing something about internet marketing, however they don’t have anything on sales development or personal development. When they don’t have anything connected on sales or personal development, I add my sales and personal development training into their program and we re-bundle it as one product to sell to their clients. This is an example of very effective joint venturing.

The most important thing is to get your program up and running.  Don’t worry about borrowing from the masters. To be authentic, you must adopt the principals and then personalize it with what you’re selling or the service you’re providing. 

Be open to the opportunity to partner with someone selling a related product or program and bundle the two together as one great offering. In this way you are able to get your business started and build a substantial client base.

When you are ready for more great training, go to to get your digital download of my Rapid Growth Method.

Do It Different!

Paul Finck

The Maverick Millionaire