Packages + Pricing
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Retreats are hot hot hot right now! And why wouldn’t they be – they are a fantastic income stream to add to your business! Facilitating amazing transformational experiences, connecting with clients in person, getting paid to travel – what’s not to love! If you want to run retreats in your biz you totally should! In fact, there is such huge interest in retreats right now that I created a whole course about how to plan them the right way with less stress and more profits!
Since I started running retreats 5 years ago, there are some common questions that I always get asked, so I wanted to answer those for you here, in case you’ve asked yourself the same Qs! Of course, all of this PLUS so much more is outlined in Your First Retreat, but here are some quickie answers to your most common burning questions:
How long does it take to plan a retreat?
For a local/non-international retreat, I recommend planning your retreat 4-6 months out. For international, you’ll want at least 6 month, but likely up to a year to plan.. You want to make sure you can get your venue of choice, and popular ones can fill up fast, so it’s better to plan in advance than leave til last minute! This also gives you love of time to launch and get butts in the seats!
How far in advance should I launch my retreat?
You definitely want to allow enough time for marketing to make sure your retreat fills. Here’s the launch timeline I recommend
How much money can I make from retreats?
I’m going to keep this nice and simple and tell you “it depends”.. and that when I was creating Your First Retreat I interviewed over 25 retreat leaders in the coaching and online biz industry, and their profits (after all expenses plus their own travel etc paid for) ranged from $500-8000 per retreat, with an average of about $4k. Is this typical. Who knows. I go into WAY more detail about pricing retreats in the course, and a lot of profit depends on smart planning and good marketing! But YES, you can make money, and NO, you won’t be pulling in 6 figures from retreats.
Do you recommend bringing on a partner?
YES. Absolutely, yes. Retreats are a lot of work and it’s definitely nice to have someone else to help! And while on the retreat, having a partner is nice to give you a break energetically during your time there.It’s also nice to have someone to come back to at the end of each day to assess how things are going, help deal with any issues, and help brainstorm or make quick decisions if you need to change up the way things are going mid-way through. In my course Your First Retreat there is a whole section on choosing the right partner for your retreat and all the different ways you can bring them in.
Do you need to visit your retreat location first?
Of course, if you CAN get there, then do it (and write it off as a business expense – hurrah!). You will have such an easier time planning if you can scope out the venue first. However, it’s definitely not necessary. I recommend asking for referrals for venues from people you know and trust, making your shortlist, and then taking the time to read reviews on trip advisor, and have detailed conversations with your contact at the venue to make sure that the place you choose fits your needs.
How many people is a “good” amount to bring on a retreat?
I personally really love retreats with 8-12 people. They feel like small, boutique experiences, and the group really gets a chance to connect. When you have this range of people, they naturally tend to break off and form small groups and everyone can find someone they get along with. With smaller groups, you run the risk of everyone just trying to spend all the time together, which can get exhausting. Any much bigger, and there might be people in the group who never even get the chance to interact. I’d say a max of 20 is a good number for a small coaching retreat. This way you can ensure everyone gets personal attention and that the group can all get to know each other without feeling overwhelmed because there are SO many people!
I hope this helps give you a sold idea of how to get started with retreats – they are a lot of work but it’s SO worth it!
Grab the FREE retreat planning checklist here, and make sure you have all your retreat ducks in a row for when you start planning!
It’s no surprise that I love to travel (my landlord who lives upstairs from me made a comment to me that she’s never seen someone come and go as often as I have and that I really am walking my Uncaged talk).
And one of the ways that I make sure I get to travel is by running retreats here at Uncaged. For the past 4 years I have teamed up with my past client and retreat partner Kate Marolt to take a group of women to Belize to explore the jungle, work on business, and have a sweet entrepreneurial vacation with other people who are psyched about what they are creating in the world (because sometimes friends and family just don’t get it). I love retreat so much that I even created a course teaching other coaches how to run them! (click here to check that out).
Retreats are magical for your business for so many reasons, and I wanted to share some of why I LOVE them, to help inspire you to run your own.
Reasons why retreats are amazing:
By gathering a group of people and swooping them away to a sweet destination, you have the power to really effect change in your clients. Sure, your online/phone coaching is great and helps your clients immensely, but there is something about being on location, with group of likeminded people, experiencing coaching in the flesh, that is life-altering. The retreat space acts as this magical bubble where shifts happen WAY faster than if someone was sitting at home (sans-pants), thinking or talking about how they want their life to change. On retreats, they are actively DOING it, which is where the transformation happens.
Connecting with clients and meeting new friends in the offline space
Skype video chat can only take you so far, and getting to meet your clients in person is one of the coolest feelings ever. It adds a whole level of depth to client relationships that is hard to achieve online. You also get to meet new friends on retreats and build a community that is super tight-knit. Sure, you can do this in Facebook groups, but there is nothing quite like drinking rum together under the jungle canopy, slogging through a tough hike together, or having cozy morning tea chatting about your biggest dreams, to help create a bond that just doesn’t happen online.
Getting paid to travel
If your goal is to live an uncaged life, travel is probably part of the equation. Retreats not only allow you to travel, they also let you get paid! Your costs will all be covered for your own travel on your retreat, plus, if you play your cards right (ie. do your planning properly), you’ll alway be walking away with a pretty penny in the bank. Don’t get me wrong, retreats are a LOT of work, but the benefit of getting a paid-for travel experience is hard to beat!
Bringing in new clients
Many people use retreat as a way to connect with new clients, and then enroll them in higher paying coaching programs after the retreat. This is a natural progression – client goes on retreat with you, has the best time ever, gets to see you in action and see how damn smart you are, and wants to work with you after retreat is over. It’s WAY easier to enrol someone after they have already worked with you, and being in the flesh with your clients builds the know/like/trust factor like whoa. Hellooooo full client roster after retreats!
Need help planning your retreat?
Retreats are a crap ton of work, but they are soooo worth it for all the benefits you receive! If you’re keen in learning more about how to plan your own retreats, my online course, Your First Retreat, teaches you everything you need to know to plan and execute transformational and profitable retreats. It’s a go at your own pace course, so no matter when you plan to run your retreat, you can grab the course now and use it on your own timeline!
Click here to learn more about the Your First Retreat course, and get started running your dream retreats – it can happen sooner than you think!
If you’re working on creating any kind of new course that people will do online (whether it’s a freebie pdf or a paid online course), one of the biggest questions that might be coming up for you is “How do I know if this is any good?”
The answer is simple – test it with real people and let THEM tell you whether it’s any good. This is called beta-testing, and you need to do it.
Having beta testers is a NON-NEGOTIABLE part of creating an online course.
Right now, I have 10 amazing future retreat leaders marking up an entire 77 page Google doc with super helpful comments and questions, and it’s amazing the stuff that their eyes are seeing that I totally missed in my first draft. NO course should ever be launched without other eyeballs on it.
I know, it can feel vulnerable. It’s scary to have people read your unedited, rough work. But when your eyes are burning and your head is hurting from staring at the same content for so long, you need people to come in and tell you what they are loving, what’s not working for them, and fill in any gaps that your overtired course-writing brain can’t see right now. It’s the most valuable thing you can do if you want to actually create a course that NAILS IT for your people.
Here is exactly what I do to test my online courses:
- Write out the course content in a Google doc, clearly divided into sections with an outline on the side so that I can jump from section to section easily.
- Once I have the core content more or less there (without having copy-edited it yet), I choose 10 people who would be my IDEAL clients for this particular course. I pull these people from either the interest list I have been generating for the course, or from my main email list, or from my Facebook group.
- I let these people know ahead of time what is required, what kind of person I am looking for to review (ie. life coach, health coach etc), and I let them know that if they can’t get their feedback to me in the required time (usually within one week), they’l be invoiced for the price of the course materials (this helps make sure I don’t get a bunch of people who just want a free course and aren’t willing to do the work).
- Then I email the link to the Google doc to them with instructions on how I want them to review it. I tell them that I’d like them to use the commenting feature in Google docs to make notes about anything they particularly love, anything that needs more explanation, anything they just don’t understand, and any additional questions that come up as they are reading through. Then I include specific questions at the end of the doc that I want them to answer, including what ballpark price point they’d put the course at.I also include testimonial type questions here “What were your biggest fears about running retreats?”, “How do you feel about planning your retreat now, after using the course”, “What was your favorite part about the course/what did you find most helpful?” etc.
- Then I go through and review their comments over the next week – asking followup questions in the comments section if I have Qs for them, and tweaking the material based on their suggestions.
Once I have gone through and figured out what to do with all of their suggestions (some I use to help review the content or add new content that I hadn’t thought about before, some I ignore because they are outside the scope of the course), I edit the course as needed, then run through it one more time for spelling and grammar and to jazz up the copy, and then it’s ready to ship off to my designer to create into something beautiful.
Once the course is launched, I send the beta testers a copy of the full course, so they can see how all their hard work paid off.
To charge or not to charge
For online courses like this, where the content is content and there is no coaching time with me involved, I highly recommend giving the course for FREE to your beta testers. You are asking them to do a LOT of work – the least you can do is not make them pay to have to do that! If what you are testing is a service, you may decide to charge a nominal fee in order to make sure that clients show up and participate and value the work you are doing. But for online courses, nope! Give it to them for free. The feedback you get is WELL worth more than the price of the course.
If you’re creating ANY kind of content that you want to deliver online, you NEED to be beta testing it like this. Yes, that even goes for that free PDF you’re putting together to send out when people sign up for your website. And it goes for the $1000 online course you plan on selling as evergreen content. And everything in between.
I am SO grateful to all my bets testers who have helped me create my new course on how to run retreats – thank you!
If you didn’t get to be a beta tester or you’re thinking “Damn I want to run retreats – I need this course!”, make sure you’re on THIS LIST over here. I’ll be sending out an email this week with an early bird bonus before the course launches in December, so make sure to enter your email here if you want access to that.
Happy beta testing!
I want to share some sneaky sales secrets with you. But not sneaky in a gross scammy kind of way. Sneaky in a “why didn’t I think of that, it’s so smart and also feels really good!” kind of way, that you might not even realize were an option!
Unless you never open my emails (I’m offended!), you probably noticed that I just finished a big launch of Uncage Your Business last month. I sent a lot of emails, did some webinars, posted about it on social media and yammered my mouth off about it in interviews. And I met my sales goals.
Then the launch ended. But I knew that there were still people who didn’t buy who need what I have to offer. So I always do a few things to get more sales and help more people, even after the launch ends. These “tactics” feel really good to me because they are authentic and come from a genuine want to help people (not just tacky ways to get more sales). And I love them because they work whether you sold a shit ton of whatever you were selling, or whether you didn’t make many sales at all.
3 ways to sell more:
1. Offer an extended payment plan
People want you to help them (or else they would’t be reading your emails or following your blog). But sometimes money really is a factor. To help you sell more, offer people an extended payment plan. On the last 2 days of the UYB launch, I opened up a 6 month payment option (even though the course is only 5 weeks long) and made 30% of total sales because of it! Giving people a flexible way to pay helps make it a no-brainer to say yes.
2. Ask for feedback on why people didn’t buy, then address those objections
You can see how I did this here. I found out why people didn’t buy (it’s anonymous so people can be really honest), and then addresses those objections in an email, and opened the cart again for a limited time. It’s a great way to find out why people aren’t buying from you, and if it turns out your marketing message wasn’t clear, or people were confused about what you were actually selling, it gives you a chance to clarify and hopefully get people in the door once they see that your service IS actually a fit for them.
3. Offer a down-sell after your launch is over
For many people, UYB was just too long (didn’t have the time to commit right now) or too expensive for them right now (even with a payment plan). And for some, they only needed part of the content, not all of it. When I learned this, I decided to open a live workshop that teaches JUST the packaging part of the course, because I know there is a good number of people who need just this, and not ALL of UYB (psst – click here if that sounds like you and you want my personal help with your packages). It’s a more affordable option than UYB and lets me still help the people who need help. I might also consider a UYB self-study version in the future for people who just want the content without the group support and the help from me.
Whether you sold out, or whether you were left with very few sales and a very sad face, these marketing techniques work because you’re showing people that you are listening to them, which makes them feel heard, and thus trust you more and be more likely to actually buy.
Next time you launch something, whether it’s a huge launch or just an email to your list announcing that you have spots open for a service, try these! And be sure to check in and let me know how they work for you.
PS. The packaging workshop downsell is happening next week! If you aren’t selling packages, or don’t have a lot of clients, or only have one way for clients to work with you, this workshop is for you! I’ll teach you my exact process for creating killer packages and programs, and we’ll create yours there on the spot that day. Check it out here.
I get questions all the time about how to feel more confident in your business, and how to actually make yourself believe that your services are worth it (because right now the thought of someone paying actually kind of scares you!) If this is you, or if you’re new to business and have no idea how to get started, don’t skip this post!
The best way to feel confident and feel good about charging great money for your services is to actually get out there and DO your services, with real people, and get better and better at it as you go.
But how do you start? How do you charge people for something you have never done and aren’t confident about yet?
You beta test, baby.
Usually, that term usually refers to testing new software or products, but since it sounds fancy and makes you feel like a cool business owner, let’s just call it that anyway. We make the rules, remember?
Beta testing your service involves actually trying it out for the first time with real people (instead of just the make-believe clients that you’ve run it though with in your head).
I’d recommend testing a service with at least 10 people before you slap your higher prices on it and make it a set service.
There are a few reasons I absolutely insist that you MUST test your services before you start:
1. You’ll be able to get feedback to make tweaks on what works and what needs improvement. This is crucial, you guys! Just because it sounded like a good idea to you doesn’t mean it works in real time. Constantly tweaking your services is something you need to get used to now, because you will be doing it forever as you grow and evolve as a business and as a person. What’s that saying about sharks? If they stop swimming they die? Yeah, don’t stop tweaking or your services will die.
2. You’ll be able to get testimonials from people to show that your service works. Testis are KEY in helping you sell things. People want to know that what you have created WORKS, and the best way to show them that is to have other people tell them what great results they got in working with you.
3. You’ll become more confident in your process, which means it will be easier to sell at a higher price when the time comes. If you’re not confident, it’s hard to sell anything, and the best way to get confident is to do it over and over and over.
4. You’ll have a chance to create content as you go, rather than all ahead of time. You might have an idea of what your program will need content-wise (worksheets, in-between work, additional resources etc), but it’s not always the best idea to go ahead and create it all at once. Not only is it overwhelming, but it’s usually not necessary. You can totally create it as you go, so that if things change along the way you can make sure your content fits with exactly what your client needs, instead of what you assumed they would need.
5. You get to generate some hype around your service. People love hype! You can hire a hype man (or hype woman… hype person?) and everything! Get people excited, start to create a bit of a buzz about
what you’re putting together. Your beta testers will feel extra special that they got first dibs, and other people will be hungry to sign up for the next round.
6. It takes the pressure off if things don’t go well. You don’t have to feel like everything will be perfect because you can explain to your first clients that this is a test run that will help you smooth out the kinks. They won’t expect it to be perfect (and full paying clients will). I know that might sound like a lot, but here are a few really good reasons to test it out a ton before you make it official:
HOW TO DO YOUR FIRST BETA TEST
First you need to decide whether your service will be free or paid.
There is no right answer here. I personally started coaching for free. I was terrified and needed to get some experience under my belt when I started. I then moved on to ‘pay what you want’ after a few months, and then eventually transitioned into full prices. Now that my business is more established (and I feel confident in what I am doing as a whole), I generally charge for first runs of a program, but I make it a no-brainer price.
The goal is to get people to sign up easily so I can test and tweak, NOT to make a boatload of money on the first run (that can come later!).
I charge enough that my clients still see the value, but not so much that it’s a HUGE investment for people that will make them hand over their first born.
The exact number of first born babies you want them to have to hand over will depend on who your clients are. If you’re just starting your business, I’d recommend working through your particular program for free to start, to learn the ropes and acquire the big C (ew, not chlamydia, gross! I mean confidence!). If you’re more established, charging 50% or less of what you’d normally charge is a great starting point.
Then you need to find people.
Start with the low hanging fruit – your friends, colleagues, acquaintances, and possibly family (careful with this one though – you may feel really awkward working with someone who you already know so well). Tell them what you’re up to and what kind of person you are looking for. Then ASK THEM FOR REFERRALS. See if they know anyone who might be a fit.
You can also start by reaching out in any groups you’re a part of either locally or online. Don’t be afraid to ask people if they know anyone who would be a good client for you.
Also, make sure to let them know what the offer is. Don’t just come at them with “Hey wanna work with me, it’s free! Dear god, please say yes I’m desperate! I’ll take anyone at this point.” Not surprisingly, this makes you sound desperate (since you used that word and all,) and doesn’t make your clients feel very special. Instead, explain to them what you’re creating and who it’s for to make sure they are a real fit (taking on non-ideal clients won’t be doing you any favors here).
Then tell them WHY you’re doing it for free or at a discount. You want to make sure that people actually value what you’re offering, so instead of just slapping a giant tacky FREE sign all over things, explain why you’re doing it this way. Then, let them know that in exchange for your work, you’ll be asking them to complete a feedback form within a week of finishing your work or whatever your feedback parameter are), to help you get an idea of how things went and what might need changing. Be clear that this is a requirement! That way they can’t skip it if they don’t feel like doing it (those slackers!). Then get to work, kids! Work with them, rock your shit, and use every ounce of feedback to improve and do better next time around.
You can do all of this in a simple email or Facebook post. You don’t have to have a proper sales page on your website for it (though you could if you wanted to). This is all about getting people in so you can START, so don’t procrastinate thinking it all has to be perfect.
Once you’ve run through your service several times and you’re feeling confident in what you’re offering and have the testis to prove it (am I the only one who shortens testimonials down to testis? Because I’m pretty sure everyone should do it), move on to picking a price for your service and get it out there.
MORE ON GETTING FEEDBACK
No matter what you are selling or giving away for free, you want social proof that it’s actually good, from real people other than yourself. Yes – that means even your freebie (the free thing you give away when people opt-in to your site) should have testimonials. You want to be collecting testis from day one, for everything you do, ever. One of the main ways you’ll sell your services is by having proof that they’re awesome. The proof is in the pudding (and now I’m hungry.)
So here’s what you need to do: Send your clients a feedback form when you finish your work with them. Create it in Google forms and disguise it as a feedback form. Just kidding – it’s not a disguise. It actually IS a feedback form, just with very carefully worded questions so that you can also use it for testimonials (two birds with one stone and all that jazz.) I give you 100% permission to blatantly copy my feedback form. Click here to see it. Just be sure to tweak the questions to make sense for your business.
One thing to be absolutely sure to ask your clients is if it’s ok if you share their feedback in the form of a testimonial on your website. Let them know you will be including a photo, and their website (if applicable). But you MUST get permission first, so the easiest way is just to ask right on your form. If the work you do is SUPER sensitive, you can tell people that you’d love to share their words anonymously, and you can explain on your testimonial section that because your work is personal/sensitive, people prefer to remain anonymous. Abracadabra – you’ve just earned more trust!
This whole process might sound like a lot, but it doesn’t have to be! You can get your first test clients TODAY if you wanted to. In fact – I dare you to get started now if you have been putting this off. If you’re like me, you can’t turn down a dare.
PS. You might be asking “But Becca, what if I have no idea what my program even is yet? How can I test something that’s still so unclear?” If you need help actually figuring out what to sell in the first place, you might want to check this out.
If you’re a coach or any other kind of solopreneur who wants to be able to work online, you might have heard me bang on and on about how to create your packages for your business. But after chatting with some people in my free Facebook community, I realized that the idea of packages may be new to you, and not entirely clear.
So let’s fix that.
First off, what is a package? I use this definition loosely. To me, it means anything OTHER than selling hourly services. A good package has a defined start and end time (so it’s not the same as just ongoing coaching), a clear focus and clear results (what problem are you solving), and a set price based on the value you offer.
Usually when you hear me refer to packages, I’m referring to live services – one on one, or possibly group, and can range from one session to several months of working together . Online courses and “passive income” (in quotes because nothing is ever passive” can stem from packages, but aren’t necessarily what I am referring to. Often, you need to work with clients one on one to get enough information and tweak your process well enough that you know what to include in an online course. Too many people create courses that are not clear or not tested well enough, or that are based on what they think their clients need (versus what their clients actually want), and they fail. Don’t do that!
Here’s a few of the main reasons you should create packages in your business:
1. No more trading time for money
Charging hourly sucks – you end up counting hours, and clients end up cheaping out and trying to work with you for as few hours as possible. Instead, I want you charging based on VALUE, and packages let you do that. Instead of tallying up how long you actually spend with each client, you’ll be charging for the whole price of the package as a whole, which helps clients feel like they are getting more value, and helps you make more money by being able to add value without adding time.
2. Easier time selling
When you talk to clients in terms of packages, you can talk about results, which at the end of the day, is what your clients are after. Because your package is defined in scope and is tailored specifically to help solve a particular problem , clients feel safe buying from you. They see you as an expert because you already sell a package that is exactly what they need, and they know up front how long and how much it is going to cost them. This makes it exponentially easier to sell versus just saying “I’m $100/hour and we can do as many sessions as you want”. No one wants that kind of uncertainty! Packages make you look legit and people buy from legit people.
3. Repeat clients
If you’re in touch with your clients needs,you can predict what they are going to want (hello mind reader!), which means you can create a package for them, and then create ANOTHER package for then for when they are finished the first package. This is great, because it helps you move clients through your funnel by always anticipating what they might need next and then creating it for them. If you nail it with them the first time around, they’re likely going to come back asking you how else they can work with you and by having distinct packages, you can move them right along into the next offer. I work with my clients to get focus in their business (we work on their message, their niche, and their packages). but once we do they, they are riled up and ready to go, and they want to know how they can now SELL more and get in front of more people, so I created a marketing plan service where I so just that with them. They’ve already worked with me, so they trust me, so it’s an easy sell when they are ready for it!
If there is ONE thing you do in your business that will make a huge difference in how mjuch you sell, it’s nailing it with your packages. They mean better results for your clients, more ease and focus for you in your business, and more money in your bank account.
PS. I love talking about this so much that I actually created a whole package of my own about it. You can check that out here.
Because we all know a good looking package when we see one – the kind that just begs you to take out your wallet and pay for it (omg that joke was TOO EASY).
You know the kind of package I’m referring to – you see it online, and you either think one of two things:
1. Hot damn I need this right now and so do 10 of my friends and here is my credit card give it to me now k thanks
2. Why didn’t I think of selling that!? Gah! My competition is so much more ahead of the game than me!
Because a nice, clear, well-groomed package isn’t just nice to look at online – it’s also what will pay your bills as a business owner, and fast.
Sometimes, size does matter
What typically happens to new business owners when trying to lay out their services is they come up with a whopping 3-6 month program (with a price tag to match) that tries to cover anything and everything they could ever possibly help someone with in their business.
And because that package is so big and so comprehensive (and thus often so vague) people don’t really understand exactly what it can do for them. So they don’t buy. And then you are left feeling like your business sucks and you suck and you should just quit now before anyone finds out that you actually tried to have a serious go at this whole business thing. (Don’t quit just yet!)
Creating smaller, more precise packages will help clients feel safe in buying (especially if they are new to you or if you don’t have a huge amount of social proof yet), and will help you bring in clients and income sooner.
But how do you squish everything you do into one short package? Answer: You don’t. Because that would be silly and wouldn’t feel good at all for you or your client. It’s like going to buy a new couch and the sales person trying to sell you on renovating your entire home. Hello, overwhelm. Hello, too much at once. Hello, no sale.
What works better is to create small, clear, results-based packages that solve ONE problem (or part of the problem) that your client is having. You need to be selling something that people actually want, solving a problem that they know they have (which is not the same as solving a problem that you know they have). Which brings us to…
Focusing on the problem
I always use the weight loss industry as an example. I work with a lot of health coaches who help people lose weight by adopting a clean diet. They often write things in their copy about how they will help people “feel like their most vibrant self, and finally help them feel confident in their own skin”.
All good. Except that their clients want to lose weight. Not feel vibrant. Or at the very least, feeling vibrant is a by-product of the true result they want, which is losing weight. Vibrancy without the weight loss is a deal breaker for them
Another example – business coaches whose clients want to grow their business and make more money. They might tell their clients that they will feel confident and help them develop a positive mindset. But what their clients really want is to finally figure out their niche and make money. Not help with their mindset. Again, the mindset work may be a nice by product, but the result of a working business is what they will actually fork over their credit card for.
Does your package level up
Quick – do this!
Have a look over your package (the main one that you are trying to market and sell right now and ask yourself 1) what problem this package is solving and 2) whether that is clear from reading your sales page and 3) whether it’s too long (“too long” is relative, but anything longer than 8-10 weeks may be getting into dangerous territory of including too much and thus being too vague)
Then change what needs to be changed to make it a smaller, more results-based package that your clients will look at and say “sign me up!” and your competitors will look at and say “why didn’t I think of that??”
PS. If you’re struggling with creating your packages and services in your online business, I created a free resource just for you that will tell you the 4 biggest mistakes business owners make when creating packages, and teach you how to come up with endless amazing package ideas. Enter your email here to get it free.
When I was wrapping up the last round of Uncage Your Business (the program that helps you finally get your business shit together once and for all), I was scrolling through our private Facebook group and noticing how cool it was to see how much progress people were making during our short 4 weeks together. And after I cried a few happy tears at how PROUD I am of my clients, I realized – these would make KILLER testimonials. And I have been meaning to write about how to get great testimonials because social proof is something you NEED to have in your business, so I figured I’d share some of the REAL LIVE stuff that UYB participants are saying in our private group and teach you a little bit about how to use social proof and testimonials to boost your street cred!
Having proof that your work delivers results is one of the best ways to sell your services and packages.
Because no one wants to miss out on something amazing, and most businesses run off #FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out). But often, asking clients to write testimonials means that you end up with generic sounding “It was great!” testimonials, or super professional sounding blurbs with NO emotion or personality… and these don’t convince anyone that it WAS actually great. There is a better way.
Use real client language and unsolicited testimonials
Your prospective clients are smart and discerning, so you need to make sure that your testimonials help them feel secure in making their purchases and persuade them to sign up, and testimonials that weren’t intended as testimonials can help you do this. This means grabbing real client language that they posted elsewhere or sent to you unsolicited.
If you have a Facebook group or a private forum for your clients, that’s a great place to grab your client results on the go. Or if you receive client emails during your work together that captures them RAVING about their results, don’t be shy – ASK those people if you can use their words!
Using clients off-the-cuff words about you and your work is a GREAT way to highlight how good you are and have it sound REAL.
None of the examples below were written as testimonials – they were posted unsolicited in our private Uncage Your Business group. Check out how REAL they feel.
Get follow-up testimonials after your work is done
Getting in-the-moment words of praise is great, but sometimes it takes time for results to kick in, and getting testimonials RIGHT after a program finished is not always a true representations of how that work impacted that person in the long run.
Results build over time, and testimonials should too.
Often, right after working with you, clients need some time to integrate and implement everything. They may already be showing some AMAZING results from your work, but YOU know best that it often takes time for the full effect to kick in. Which is why I think it’s SO important it is to keep following up with your clients’ progress – long after your work together is done.
Every time I open Uncage Your Business again, I like to check in with past UYB grads to see where they are NOW – it’s important to me to see how much of what we do in UYB stays with them as they move forward. So I hit the streets (or more like, I hit my Uncaged VIP Facebook group) and ask them!
From people who took the program wayyy back in it’s first round over a year and a half ago, and to folks who just finished a few months ago — here is what they had to say
Laura says: UYB changed everything for the better!
I took a little time to soak up all the UYB goodness when it ended. I think some people are able to take off right away and others, like me, have to let things marinate and settle a bit. Since UYB, I’ve become a floppity gillion (actual number that I just made up) times more clear on what I want to do and who I want to work with.
Before UYB, I used to feel like I had to pursue every area of design “Ah! Hand lettering…gotta do that!” (I have little patience for hand-lettering, btw). “A full line of greeting cards…yeah, I should do that!”. I wasn’t really operating from a purpose that means something to me.
It’s such an amazing feeling to let go of the idea that I have to be the designer who does everything. Without UYB, I’d probably be hunched over my desk, hand-lettering for no reason, and hoping one day someone would want to buy it.
UYB made everything click for me and I’ve had more people interested in working with me than ever before. It was the besssst thing I could have done for my biz!
Pamela says: UYB Rocked Ass! It was the most intense month I have ever spent on really getting clear about what the hell my business is about. Sure, before the program I thought I knew what my business was about. But I didn’t have the success I wanted so something had to be off, right? This program isn’t what you think it will be. Becca’s current marketing doesn’t even do it justice. You won’t get out of it what you think you will. And at the end of it, you are left with WAY MORE than you ever could have imagined would happen in a month. I am walking away with crystal clear clarity and confidence that I have never had before. I believe in the long term it probably will save me thousands of dollars that I would have invested in other business building courses.
Jenn says: I came into UYB with one business idea that was vague and kind of like what everyone else was doing that never felt like “YES!” and left with a different business that I am super charged about. I am so crazy clear on who I want to help, how I help them, and (almost more importantly) HOW I want to help them vs how I thought I should help them.
I really wish I had met Becca before doing any other course (especially B-School) because I wouldn’t have floundered and felt like I wasn’t making any headway for so long. When I have moments of doubt and think “Who am I to have an online business and do this?” I just touch base with everything I have learned from UYB and I get centred again. I can’t wait to report back once I am up and running and have tangible numbers because I will be writing the most kick ass testimonial UYB has ever seen!
Jessie says: After finishing UYB this past winter, I honestly wasn’t sure if I had benefited that much from it. Sure I had changed my offers and my website copy, my business processes, etc, but I still didn’t have hoards of clients knocking on my door. Then I started committing consistently to the next level shiz with blogging, and the client followups, etc and gave myself a major mindset makeover over this past week and I gotta say that shit is turning around. I have a handful of people in my new group program and the huge difference now after UYB is that these are my DREAM clients. I was so inspired after my call I couldn’t sleep last night! I’ve had applications flowing in like crazy these last few days and all of them are my ideal clients. I thought I had figured out my ideal client avatar before UYB but I still attracted clients that weren’t a great match for me. Now, I’m lit up by every application that comes in and beyond grateful to be doing this work, so thank you Becca! UYB literally renewed my passion in my business by getting me crystal clear on the way I wanted to work, who I wanted to work with, and how to speak their language.
Let’s be serious here: without you Rebecca, I wouldn’t have a business. I would have probably wasted years in getting there and wasting my time and reading everybody else’s newsletter. After the first time going through the course material I was like: OMG, that’s the shit! And after a month of amazing work, well, people around me told me that they had never seen me so energised and happy and I was actually having the time of my life. I loved every single material of the course, I loved waking up and reading the messages in the group, doing the homework, working the whole day long on it and seeing things happening at such a speed that I would have thought possible.
You only want me to share 3 results? I got a lot more than that! In a month I created a completely new website, my message became crystal clear, I outlined all my programs, blog posts, and opt-ins, and I got my first 3 clients for my new programs during the course and I got the full investment back! Plus, I got about 100 subscribers to my new newsletter, my $650 signature Coaching Program sold without having to sell it, and people started writing me to tell me that they love my website. And this is all because of Uncage Your Business.
Working with you gave me the incredible opportunity of making it all happen. Of creating something beautiful that didn’t exist before, of putting myself out there – I even started recording videos – of talking about what matters to me, making me able to be found and help people. You gave me all the cards I needed to make it, plus you helped me to take the step that changes fear in courage. I’ll always be grateful for everything you made possible in my life.
Check out how much more confidence it instills in you, as the reader, to see that people continued to get results and still feel the program was a GREAT choice, long after the initial high has worn off. That’s how you want your clients to view your work – make them see how valuable it will be in the longterm.
Paste your testis everywhere
So, obviously this post is two-fold – I’m trying to teach you about testimonials, but I’m also trying to sell you on Uncage Your Business (the jig is up!). The lesson here is that you can (and should) put your words of praise everywhere, ESPECIALLY when you are in launch mode trying to sell something. Yes, put them on your sales pages for your program, but also put them on your About page, and in your launch emails, in your blog posts, and post them on social media. Create case studies out of them. Interview past clients about their results and post the interview on your blog. Let people know how amazing you are, and create the #FOMO in your readers!
How to get testis if you don’t have clients yet
You might be shaking your head at me saying “Well, yeah Becca, that all sounds great IF (when) I actually have clients.. but I haven’t had a single one yet? How am I supposed to get proof that I am awesome when I haven’t worked with anyone?”
Totally legit question.
There are a few things you can do:
1. You can reach out to colleagues, friends, and anyone who knows you in a helping capacity (think back to coach training and any practice clients you worked with, or colleagues who can vouch for your web design work that kind of thing), and ask them if they could write something for you.
2. Get your first practice clients and get moving! This is the approach we take in Uncage Your Business – helping you get your first clients NOW so that you can start collecting testimonials (and valuable feedback) right away (I’ll teach you how). You’d be amazed at how many UYBers figure out their first package idea, and not only get their first practice clients but also their first PAYING clients in as little as 4 weeks. It’s possible. It happens all the time. The key is getting out of your own way and actually getting started.
Wherever you are in business, social proof that your services DELIVER is one of the most important things you need to have to sell your stuff.
Join us in September for Uncage Your Business to get started with collecting your first testimonials, creating your killer signature packages that get NOTICED, nailing down your brand message, understanding your target market in a way you never have before (without any avatar exercises – hooray!), and being able to articulate what you do to people in a way that actually makes sense… and makes you money… and more so, finally getting this business of yours out of the gates and into the world, where it belongs.
And if UYB isn’t for you right now, ignore the pitch and go work on your testis! They are crucial to your business success.
Last year around this time, I was busy busting my ass creating a course to help you build a better business by creating package and services that people actually want to buy, because I kept seeing some common mistakes and I vowed to make it my mission to out an end to it!
I was (and still am) on a mission to teach online service entrepreneurs (hello life coaches, health coaches, and any other kind of coach or consultant that feels lost in a sea of BLAH in their industry) how to niche in and make stuff that people actually want to buy, and to stop selling open-ended, long-term coaching packages, because:
1. It’s a constant hustle for clients and you’ll live with insecure income if you stay that route and
2. You can do better than that and I KNOW there are ways you’d rather be working if you could just figure out what they are and how to package them up.
So last year, in preparation for the Hey, Nice Package launch, I interviewed 7 business owners who have really GREAT packages, and picked their brains about THEIR thought process in creating packages. How’d they come up with such great stuff? How did they know people would buy? What mistakes did they make and what would they do differently if they were starting all over again?
If you’re struggling with putting together packages and you want to be one of those business owners who constantly creates memorable programs that the internet buzzes about, watch every single one of these interviews, and take notes! These women are killing it online and their advice will save you months (years?) of work in your business.
Check out the interviews here:
Kendrick Shope – Kendrick dives into how she managed to build her business in a short amount of time by giving away services for FREE.
Lis Dingjan – Even tangible services like web design need packages, and Lis talks about why it’s not always as straightforward as it seems.
Sally Hope – Sally spills all about creating her membership site Wildheart Revolution.
Victoria Prozan – Learn how Victoria managed to build a wildly successful business by offering just ONE super specific package as her ONLY service.
Amber McCue – Amber talks about how she had success by starting with group programs.
Denise Duffield-Thomas – DDT walks us through how she developed her signature system.
Illana Burk – Repeat business from clients is NOT always the goal. Huh? Illana tells us why.
I think what is so cool is that these women have all created something that WORKS, and they have all done it in different ways. Just goes to show that there is no ONE way to run your business. There are definitely themes throughout all of their success though – getting super clear on your niche, LISTENING like a hawk to your clients, and not being afraid to experiment. Hopefully you’re buzzing with excitement and ideas for new packages and programs! Now get off my site and start creating!!
PS. If you’re struggling with creating your packages and services in your online business, I created a free resource just for you that will tell you the 4 biggest mistakes business owners make when creating packages, and teach you how to come up with endless amazing package ideas. Enter your email here to get it free.
I have been debating whether to write this post or not. It is not an easy one to write, and it will not be an easy one to read if you know Reese. But I have decided that it needs to be done to inform and protect the people I care about most – the Uncaged community. Some of you might not agree with my decision to talk about this publicly, but I feel that stating the facts without any of the emotion tied to it is the best way to handle this case. I’ll write a post another time about the ethics of running a business, but this is not that post.
It is with a heavy heart that I have to draw attention to someone who has copied my work and is selling it as her own.
Her name is Reese Ben-Yaacov and her website is ReeseBenYaacov.com
This is her header:
I guess it doesn’t take years to grow a successful VA business and it can happen right now if you just copy other people’s programs.
I am not usually one to worry about copycatters if someone is borrowing ideas or copying a blog post or two – that happens all the time and is par for the course in this industry. It sucks but it happens. I usually contact them and ask them to please take it down, and am flattered that someone would want to copy me. It’s not usually worth the fight. (And if you are EVER unsure if you can borrow someone’s idea – contact them first! They will be flattered, and be sure to credit them!).
And I wish this was just a case of a borrowed idea. But what Reese Ben-Yaacov has done is cut and paste copying. We share many similar colleagues and clients and are a part of many of the same online circles.
Stealing and plagiarizing is ILLEGAL. And when it’s being done by someone who is in my community group, who is selling to my clients, who is well known in her industry, and who has worked with my colleagues – I feel a duty to speak publicly about it. I am fiercely protective of the Uncaged group and of YOU. So while this post is extremely difficult for me to write and I didn’t make this decision lightly (or without legal counsel), I don’t feel comfortable NOT telling you the facts about what is going on here.
If you have purchased her Virtual Assistant Start Up Guide or her recent workshop called Irresistible Packages, PLEASE ASK REEESE FOR A REFUND. She will be honoring all requests. And please contact me and send me your proof of purchase. I would like to send you the original content that these materials that were created from (namely – Biz Shiz, and Hey, Nice Package!). I want to make sure that you have the authentic materials in your hand – it’s the least I can do.
I have a lot more to say about this topic, but this blog post is meant to be an informational account of what has happened – not an emotionally charged rant about the ethics of business and what is right and wrong (that is coming another day – rest assured)
News of this incident has been circling around various Facebook communities, and I know it is shocking to many people who know and work with Reese. The stages of grief always seem to come into effect when we learn that someone we know and trust has done something we don’t understand: Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression, Acceptance.
It is for this reason that I want to make it VERY clear that this is not a case of “borrowing of ideas” – and the only way I can do that is through showing the facts.
Here are some screenshots of parts of my programs, shown next to Reese Ben-Yaacov’s programs:
LEFT SIDE: My last page of Biz Shiz.
RIGHT SIDE: Reese’s last page of her Virtual Assistant Start Up Guide
LEFT SIDE: A page from my guide Biz Shiz
RIGHT SIDE: A page from Reese’s VA Start Up Guide. These are just two examples – the entire guide was copied like this.
LEFT SIDE: A screenshot from a video recording that is part of Hey, Nice Package! In this video I walk people through how to create packages for their business.
RIGHT SIDE: A screenshot from the video that Reese re-created for her workshop “Irresistible Packages”, based on my Hey, Nice Package video. She walks people through the same system with the same worksheet. You can see in the righthand side of her image that she actually has my Hey, Nice Package program (HNP) open in one of her tabs as she records the video. #oops
LEFT SIDE: A chapter on “How To Write A Sales Page” from Hey, Nice Package.
RIGHT SIDE: An email Reese sent to people in her workshop Irresistible Packages about how to write a sales page, with the exact same copy. She also copied the course’s worksheets and sent them out in similar emails.
LEFT SIDE: My header and tagline from Hey, Nice Package!
RIGHT SIDE: An email Reese sent to her clients in her Irresistible Packages workshop, using my exact taglines from Hey, Nice Package (plus other parts of the copy that are swiped directly from my sales page).
So those are the facts.
ON A POSITIVE NOTE — at least I know that if you did buy from Reese Ben-Yaacov, you got good material. It is MY material afterall – so at least you didn’t totally waste your money! And a reminder – if you did purchase the products mentioned above, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will send you the original material that her courses were copied from. It is important to me that you have the original work. And demand a refund from Reese!
HOW TO PROTECT YOURSELF IF THIS HAPPENS TO YOU:
This issue was brought to me by a client, and unfortunately I would never have known otherwise. If you see something suspicious – please inform the person affected! We need to look out for each other in this business.
You can also use copyscape.com to check if your work is being copied (I actually checked this morning and found a whole OTHER site that is a direct replica of mine, down to the bird logo and everything). This case is a little different because with Reese Ben-Yaacov, it’s the downloaded material that is copied, which won’t be picked up by copyscape. But for general website content, it should catch it. Make sure you have terms and agreements of use on your website and at the point of purchase for each product. Cover your ass for when this does happen (because some version of it will inevitably happen in your business when you reach a certain level of success).
Check out this interview I did with a lawyer about how to protect yourself.
ONE FINAL NOTE:
Thank you for listening. Than you for being here. And thank you for all the support you have given me along the way. I promise to continue to create packages and programs that are of service to YOU and your needs, based on MY expertise and my knowledge. I will continue to listen and serve you in the best way that I can. And I will continue to keep my community clear of people who want to do business in any way other than with the highest integrity.
So in case you didn’t know, I run a free community group on Facebook with thousands of cool, smart business owners (you can join here if you’re not a part of it yet). It’s a place where they can ask questions, collaborate, rant, get help, and just shoot the shit with other people who understand what they are up to and want to help. And on Fridays I let them go buck wild promoting anything and everything they want.
And as much as I LOVE seeing what everyone is creating, because duh – it’s all super impressive and amazing stuff – it physically PAINS me to see how CHEAP people are pricing their stuff.
The web designer who charges $299 for 5 custom pages of design? NO!
The copywriter who is offering an About page for $99? UGH!
The health coach who is offering a full meal plan and nutritional protocol for $49? PLEASE STOP!
Here’s the deal: When you WAY undercharge, you’re not only undermining everyone else in your industry, but you’re also making people think you’re not good at what you do.
I know when I see a $15 haircut versus a $75 haircut; I almost always know I’m going to come out looking way hotter with the $75 cut.
It’s the same reason people spend $2000 on B-School and put such high value on it, but don’t look at another business coach’s $150 program in the same way.
Right? You know exactly what I am talking about.
The right pricing can help make sure your clients value what you do enough to put in the time and effort to get the results they came to you for without being lazy fuckers that don’t put in the work, and then don’t get results. When you charge more, people give a crap and actually want to try harder, which obviously makes you look better, which means you can charge more in the future. Boom.
If you want people to take you seriously and you don’t want to piss off everyone else in your industry, putting some thought into your prices is super important.
BUT – you also don’t want to be one of those assholes who jumps right out of the gates charging premium prices. If you have NO experience and aren’t even sure you can deliver the goods, you’re going to screw over your clients and yourself and potentially ruin your business forever.
So then, how do you find that balance between too cheap and too expensive? How do you decide on prices that feel good for you AND for your clients? How to you settle on numbers that portray your value, without you looking desperate, but also without inflating things to ridiculous amounts because someone told you to “charge what you’re worth”?
You find your “baby bear” number — the number that feels not too high and not too low.
Because the truth is, NO ONE can tell you how much to charge. At the end of the day you have to feel confident in the prices you set and have the confidence to say them out loud to prospective clients. Your baby bear number will help you work from that place of confidence. Write down your too-high number. Now write down your too-low number. Now pick a number somewhere in the middle and check in with your gut – how does it feel? Still too high? Go lower. Feel too low? Go higher. You’ll eventually find the number that feels juuuuuust right.
And remember that your prices will change! The number that feels good now won’t necessarily feel great in 6 months from now. Give yourself permission to start where you’re at and know that as your confidence and skills increase, your prices will too.
PS. if you need help strategically pricing your services, check out my mini-course Get Paid!
Welcome to your FINAL Nice Package! interview, a series where I’ve been chatting with cool business owners who have created really sweet packages.
Today I’m STOKED to be presenting, for the very first time on video, the lovely Illana Burk of Makeness Media. When I started thinking about who I wanted to interview before launching Hey, Nice Package, Illana immediately came to mind.
Illana is wicked smart, has curly hair, and is a very nice person. She’s known for her no bullshit approach to business, and is a testament to how you CAN keep your integrity and run a business.
Illana has a couple of noteworthy packages, but I wanted to talk to her specifically about her 3day intensive. It’s a unique service, and I wanted to dive deeper into why she decided on only 3 days, as well as her interesting choice to NOT work with a good portion of her clients on a repeat basis. When getting repeat clients is all the rage, Illana explains why that doesn’t always make sense in business.
Watch the interview with Illana here!
Illana Burk. Designer. Thinker. Artist. Helper. Writer. Teacher. Lover. Learner. MBA. Marketer. Business-Brainiac. Web-Nerd. Greenie. Foodie. Friend. Finder. Seeker. Searcher. Grower. Creator. Maker. Mover. Giver. Liker. Tweeter. Pinner.
PS. If you’re struggling with creating your packages and services in your online business, I created a free resource just for you that will tell you the 4 biggest mistakes business owners make when creating packages, and teach you how to come up with endless amazing package ideas. Enter your email here to get it free.
Welcome to another Nice Package! interview, where we’re chatting with cool business owners who have created really sweet packages.
Today I’m chatting with the amazing Denise Duffield-Thomas of Lucky Bitch about her packages. Denise grew her business quite quickly, and now offers online courses… but she didn’t start there. Just like the rest of us, she pounded the pavement for new clients, did one-on-one work, and tried out group programs. She has some great tricks up her sleeve for helping you create your own nice packages.
Watch the interview here:
Denise Duffield-Thomas is a coach and motivational speaker who helps exceptional women create outrageous success. Her book “Lucky Bitch” is a practical and fun take on the law of attraction and what it really takes to manifest your wildest dreams. You can find her at LuckyBitch.com
Welcome back to the Nice Package! series, where I’m showing off the sweet packages that some of my fellow colleagues are selling. My new course Hey, Nice Package! is ALL about helping you get to the bottom of how to create bomber stuff that SELLS. It’s a proven system and I use it for everything I create and if you’re loving these interviews, HNP will teach you to go in-depth to everything you’re learning from these folks to create your own nice packages.
Today Amber McCue is rocking the mic… er… the screen? God bless Amber for taking the time to chat – she is LITERALLY about to pop out a(nother) baby.
Amber is one of those people who looks like she just flew into the scene and became an overnight success, but the truth is that she has been in business for a LONG time, but just recently-ish (in the past several years) changed her tune and started working with small businesses.
Amber basically went straight into creating group programs… and while I usually don’t advise this if you’re just starting out, Amber shares how she made it work, and what really went into creating the sweet, sweet packages she offers today.
Check out Amber’s nice package in this interview. Thanks Amber, you’re amazing – good luck with making that baby!
Amber McCue has a sweet spot for helping entrepreneurs do better business and increase their bottom line. Entrepreneurs come to her to build streamlined, scalable, profitable business operations without working 24/7 and they are not disappointed. She loves all things business — especially, problem solving, systems, team building, making money via strong revenue streams, sharing that wealth again and again in the best possible ways. You’ll find her at NiceOps.com.
Welcome to the Nice Package! series, where I’m showing off the sweet packages that some of my fellow colleagues are selling. My new course is ALL about helping you get to the bottom of how to create bomber stuff that SELLS. It’s a proven system and I use it for everything I create (and my shiz sellz out, so it works).
But today, I’m chatting today with Victoria Prozan, who jams on all things communication and branding – from writing to design to storytelling. She has a pretty sweet package herself, and y’all can learn a lot from her.
When I was brainstorming who I should interview for this series, Victoria was one of the first people who came to mind. It’s probably important to know that I have never actually worked with Victoria, and to be really honest, I didn’t even what else she did other than this one service, before I started digging deeper into her stuff for this interview.
Just goes to show that it’s easy to build a stellar reputation when you have a really unique and noticeable package.
Victoria was always the go-to person that I thought of when it came to naming something for your business – whether your biz name or a package or service, or your first born (maybe? I bet she could some up with some cool branding for your new baby if you’re into that kind of thing. Baby branding – it is a thing, right?).
And what’s more interesting is that Victoria’s Superluxe Naming Experience was, for a while, the ONLY thing she offered. And now, she’s retiring this service! What!?
So as you can imagine, I was super keen to get into her head and figure out how the hell she was able to sustain her business with just ONE package, and talk to her about how and why she created it. Did she work with a ton of people on more generic branding stuff first, and then drill down? And, of course, I wanted to talk with her about why on earth she would STOP offering something that was so wildly successful.
Such great stuff in here. Huge thanks to Victoria for taking the time to walk us through her process!
Here’s what floats Victoria Prozan‘s boat: coaxing your self-expression to come out + play in service to building a remarkable brand experience. As the creator of The Superluxe Naming Experience, she has worked with hundreds of entrepreneurs to craft spot-on branded language, plus her Creative Ambrosia subscription dishes up inspiration from the far corners of the world. You’re extraordinary, so brand like it!
Welcome to the Nice Package! series, where I’m chattin’ with cool business owners who have sweet packages that their clients can’t wait to get their hands on.
I’m chatting today with Miss Sally Hope, founder of The Wildheart Revolution.
Sally started off like many life coaches do – with a strong desire to help people, but NO flipping idea how to build a business. Like most new business owners, she had a big dream, but NO idea how to make it happen. She walks us through how she went from having open-ended, vague packages, to creating her Wildheart membership site where she serves hundreds of people. Sally gives us the REAL deal oh what it takes to create a big group program, busts the myth that groups and easier to run than individual coaching, talks about her pricing choices and why she decided to keep her rates low, and gives us some hot tips for how to get started when you’re getting started.
Sally Hope is renegade life coach and unconventional traditionalist who likes hot pink lipsticks, puns, guns, crosswords and country dancing and finds life lessons in everyday (and ridiculous) circumstances. And writes about it. Check her out at SallyHope.com
Welcome to the Nice Package! series, where I’m chattin’ with cool business owners who have sweet packages that their clients can’t wait to get their hands on.
Lis is an amazing person and I’m constantly awed by how much new stuff she is creating! She has more businesses than I can even keep track of. She does web design and development services, runs a charity, is starting a photography business, has more than one product based business, and lord knows what else she’s up to (she emails me at least once a week with a new business venture that we just HAVE to start together).
I wanted to bring Lis on because even though she’s a web designer, which is a business with quite tangible outcomes (as opposed to say, life coaching), she’s a great example of how even when your work is tangible, packaging isn’t always easy.
Lis has some fantastic advice about how to actually find out if people will pay for what you’re creating, how to know when you should invest in design for your programs and sales pages (and when to wait), and shares how she went from way undercharging to gaining the confidence to charge prices that make her feel really good.
Thanks for being on Lis – I love you (despite the fact that the still shot in the video looks like I am screaming at you!)
Lis Dingjan is a designer and coding geek at The Identity who’s obsessed with being in the creative zone (totally code for the shower). She helps businesses succeed with laughs, lashings of high quality, and a whole lot of love and value. Accidentally circumnavigating the world every year, she’s travelled through over 50 countries and calls everywhere home. When she’s not throwing things at her computer you can find her working on charity projects, drinking far too much tea, listening to Leonard Cohen and pretending she’s funnier than she really is.
Welcome to the first interview in the Nice Package! series, where I’m chatting with business owners who have created amazing and unique signature packages and programs (because we all want to know their magic secrets, don’t we!?)
Packaging up your work the “right” way is one of the most important parts of your business (and, no surprise, is directly tied to you actually making money), but it’s one of the most challenging things you’ll have to do. It’s so damn hard in fact, that I was compelled to create an entire course JUST on this one part of your business.
Let’s get real – we ALL envy those people who are SO damn clear in what they offer that they seem to blow up overnight – getting press, running on a waitlist, and just generally killing it in their biz.
But of course, there’s no such thing as an overnight success, and even when it looks like someone is just born with biz success in their blood, that’s not usually the case.
Kendrick Shope is one of those people who is absolutely crushing it in her biz. But she didn’t start out that way.
I brought her on today to talk about how she went from having no clients in a general life coaching business, to the point where she’s running a yearly group program with hundreds of clients. Kendrick talks about how she got started as a coach, what DIDN’T work for her, and how she learned what to do instead.
PAY CLOSE ATTENTION, because a lot of the processes Kendrick talks about are exactly the ones that I see so many people wanting to skip in their businesses – testing things out for a long period of time (with literally hundreds of people), creating smaller, more focused packages right off the bat, and putting in your due diligence before leveraging your work in online courses or group programs.
This is the exact process I teach in Hey, Nice Package, and Kendrick fires some real pearls at us here that you can start to use right now in your business to create services that actually SELL (rather than those ones that, you know, aren’t selling, and just collecting dust on your virtual shelves).
Kendrick Shope is the Creator of Authentic Selling, a process designed to take the ick out of selling so that you can do more of what you love, make money, and, make a difference. In her previous life, Kendrick worked for 3 Fortune 500 companies and was a top performing sales representative. You can learn more about Authentic Selling and sales school here.
You know how when you start a business, you often have this HUGE vision of what you eventually want to create – whether it’s a retreat in a faraway land, or a huge conference style event where you gather the best of the best in your industry?
But then you look at where you are now… and stare longingly allllll the way over there, to where you want to be, and you just have one question: “How the FUCK am I going to make that happen?”
Usually, we assume that the Big Thing we want to do will have to wait at LEAST 10 years before we can make it happen. I mean – if no one even knows your name, how are you supposed to create something on that scope?
Answer: You start planning it and you figure it out as you go.
If you haven’t heard of ALIVE In Berlin yet (or it’s creator Jana), I wanted to introduce you to it/her. Because she is a PERFECT example of someone who saw a need, had a vision, and set out to make it happen way (WAY!) sooner than she felt ready.
Jana is a life coach with a fairly small email list… and yet she’s organizing one of the biggest personal development/entrepreneurship conferences ever to be held in Europe.
I got Jana on Skype (video didn’t record – oops! – audio only this time ’round) to talk about how the hell she got from here to THERE. It’s well worth a listen if you’re scheming big things but can’t seem to bridge the gap to actually making them happen.
And if you’re in Europe, you need to get yourself to ALIVE. It’s no fair that we have ALL the amazing conferences here in North America. Connecting with other people who have the same Big Visions as you is SO important, and that community aspect is greatly lacking in Europe. Jana is changing that and you should definitely be there for the first of what I think will be MANY more of its kind.
Click play to listen!
After years in the corporate world, Jana woke up one day and decided she’d had enough of living from weekend to weekend, and set out to find work that she actually enjoyed; success criteria No. 1: wake up excited! During her journey, Jana fell in love with personal development and retrained as a personal lifestyle and small business coach and successfully built LoveWorkNow, a community of career changers and solopreneurs. ALIVE is her dream come true.
What Big Thing are you planning that you feel is WAY too far off? Anything you can do NOW to get started on making it happen?? Share in the comments and we’ll make sure you can’t back out!
If one of those “Big Things” you want to do is run a retreat, Kate and I have you covered. The Retreat Retreat is a week away with us in the mountains of Whistler BC, helping you plan YOUR very own retreat. If you want to run retreats next year, NOW is the time to start planning. Join us in Whistler in July 2014 and let’s get your retreat on.
Let’s get to the point, yeah? MONEY.
You need it to have a business (otherwise you’re just running a REALLY time consuming hobby, which is cool if that’s what you want to do, but then don’t bitch about not making any money).
When you’re first starting out, the money part of your business can be suuuuper stressful. You’re totally broke, so you’re frugal as hell and won’t even spend $10 on your business. And at the same time, the thought of asking your clients for money is terrifying. You sound awkward and nervous and so not professional (and yes your clients can smell it). And nevermind the fact that even if you DID try to ask confidently, you have no idea what you should actually be charging.
So what’s a gal to do? Gotta spend money to make money, but gotta make money to spend money.
You have to start somewhere.
It’s like the chicken and the egg, except I doubt whether the topic has ever sparked any in deeper questions about how the world started.
I want to walk you through some of the most important things to think about when you’re just getting started with trying to figure out what the hell to charge.
First of all, you have to have a service. If you’re still stuck there, I’m the bomb (do people still say that? I do. Bringin’ it back) at helping you figure out what to actually offer.
But we’ll assume that you already know what you do.
So what to charge? This is a BIG question and there are lots of different opinions on it. And this is my blog, so you get my opinions.
Here’s what you need to think about when you price:
1. How long have you been doing what you’re doing? If it’s your very first rodeo, I’d suggest doing it for free (yep, that’s right, I love working for free), so you can make sure you’re actually GOOD at what you do. Testing things out for free also takes the pressure off, AND lets you get valuable feedback and make the necessary tweaks to your service before you ramp up the price.
You can plan something all you want, but at the end of the day, it might just not work out the way you had planned (it’s like dating the guy who looks good on paper, and then turns out to be the guy who sneaks you into the movie theatre so he doesn’t have to pay – it’s always the rich ones who are the cheapest, right?). So testing your services for free or Pay-What-You-Want is always a good way to start.
2. What amount feels good to you? Yes, this is a legit method of pricing. It doesn’t matter what anyone else charges (most people price their services based on their own insecurities about money anyway), you have to feel good about what comes out of your mouth when you tell your clients your prices.
At the end of the day, you can’t charge a number that makes you vomit when you say it out loud. You also can’t slap a price tag on something that makes you resent your clients because they’re stealing all your time and you can barely afford to pay your rent.
Choosing a number that feels good to you is mega important.
3. How much money do you want to make? It’s almost SO obvious of a question that we often overlook it. When I left on my 7-month rockclimbing trip last year, I decided that I wanted to make $250/month from my business. In fact, I decided I’d be STOKED if I made $250/month. I mean, I created something and people were paying me for it – at the beginning, that alone was incredible!
Don’t think about your longterm money goals here. Look at the next year and decide how much you’d be thrilled to make. And as much as I loathe the word – choose a number that is realistic (ie. If it’s your first year of business and you have no prior marketing or business experience, I wouldn’t be gunning to make $150k next year).
If you want to make $30k, and your service is $100, you can then do some math and figure out how much you need to sell to meet your make-money-money goals.
4. How good is your website? Seeing as I’m hanging out with the amazing Lis Dingjan from The Identity this week, I’ve been all up in the world of websites and you guys – you NEED a good site if you want to charge premium prices! No, you don’t need a perfect site, but you do need to at least look legit (which means no photo with your partner cut out of it, no wordpress.com URL, no header image that is all stretched out because you couldn’t be bothered to figure out how to make it fit.)
Once you’re clear on your business (your WHY, WHO, and HOW), it is 100% worth it to start to invest.
And since we’re on the topic, let’s step away from pricing and talk about websites.
Here are some of my favorite website resources for every website budget:
The Shindig – DIY your own basic website with this free video (one of the first things I ever made in my business! You’re welcome to laugh at me, but it gets the job done). I walk you through how to set up hosting, integrate wordpress, and install a free theme.
Small budget ($0-$100)
Medium budget ($500-1000)
Brandburst is another excellent option (yes, I’m biased). You get a full messaging session to get mega clear on your WHY/WHO/HOW, a perfect tagline created for you, and a full color and font palette to fit your unique brand… and then everything is put together into a fully designed header. It’s the perfect get-started package.
If you hop into the community, there are frequently designers in there taking on new clients at lesser rates.
Big budget ($5000-10000)
Hire a designer to do a proper job for you. It is WELL worth the price, but only if you are really clear on what you are doing. The worst thing would be to invest and then change your business so much that your website doesn’t work for you anymore! A custom site will run you $8-10k and up, with some designers coming in at just under that if your site doesn’t require complicated functionality like e-commerce etc.
If you want to charge premium prices and rule the world (ok, maybe just rule your market), you have to have a good website. Start where you are and invest when you’re clear on your business.
Ok, website rant over… back to pricing.
At the end of the day, it’s up to you what you charge, but taking the above into consideration will help you take the UGH factor out of setting your prices.
Pricing doesn’t have to make you want to puke. You should be able to tell your clients what you charge without feeling like a total fraud (and if you do feel like a total fraud, investing in more training or getting more experience is probably not a bad idea.)
And remember, getting PAID is FUN. In fact it’s one of the funnest parts of business, because it not only lets you do fun shit like fly to Holland and then Morocco and then Paris on a whim (I’m writing this while on the tail end of that adventure), but it actually lets you have a bigger impact with your business by investing back into your work, so you can reach more people and save the world even more.
And who doesn’t want to save the world even more!?
Where have you been waffling on your pricing? Decide right now on your price for your package or service. Set it, own it, and then post in the comments and tell us proudly how much you charge (note: this is also a way to promote your business, so take advantage!)
Yoga teachers, chiropractors, reiki teachers, osteopaths, personal trainers, and anyone else who runs a business that’s typically hands-on, something you physically have to be IN PERSON to do – this is for you!
You’re craving the online business lifestyle, yeah? But you feel totally stuck because your thing has to be done in person, yeah?
But does it? Really?
I want to open you up to an idea that might just change your life.
What if your thing could be whatever the hell you wanted it to be, and you could do it in whatever hell the way you wanted to?
Here’s what I think: I think you can bring just about any damn business you want online. I think you can come up with really awesome and unique ways to serve your clients without ever having to meet them in person.
And I think the best way to illustrate this will be to give you some really concrete examples. I love helping people come up with out-of-the-cage ways to make money in their businesses, and I think anyone can be creative with how they work with clients.
Here are some examples off the top of my head for how a few different businesses could bring in income online.
1. Yoga teacher
Record yoga classes and upload them weekly. Have people pay a subscription fee to access the classes.
Put together individual classes tailored to your current one-on-one clients. Send them their individualized class each week.
Put together a how-to guide for basic yoga poses, with videos and instructions on how to work through the basic poses and get the most out of your practice. Sell it as a digital product.
Teach other yoga teachers how to bring more connection/fun/whatever your thing is into their yoga teachings. Run individual sessions or group sessions.
Choose a niche (Chiro for yoga teachers maybe? Brilliant!) and teach them how to incorporate really easy DIY chiro techniques into their practice/classes.
Write a book about why your spine health dictates your whole health, and focus on easy ways for people to improve spine health at home.
‘Fill a need that wasn’t met in chiropractic college (Empathy skills? Business building? Go with where your expertise lies) and run a group class for chiropractors teaching them that.
3. Personal Trainer
Take your clients over the phone and put together personalized programs for them, with instructional videos on how to perform certain exercises.
Choose a really specific niche (moms who wan to lose the baby weight/single post-college guys who want to get in the best shape of their lives), and lead a month-long group program with a plan of action and daily challenges/prompts to help get them there.
Create mini workout programs available via digital download that solve really specific problems (losing the baby fat/sculpting Beyonce-esque legs/working your way to your first half-marathon).
Love long distance biking? Climbing? Triathlon? Make that your expertise and hone in on creating programs tailored to helping these people. When you’re the EXPERT in your field, people will pay you big bucks just to get you on the phone.
And obviously, these are just a few of SO many options. Just because you’re running a hands-on business, doesn’t mean you have to do it in the traditional hands-on way. Pick a target market, narrow in, combine what you do with expertise from the rest of your life, and start creating something. You can do this right away too. You don’t have to wait to have a perfect website or a huge mailing list. Create something small now and start telling your clients about it. Word of mouth is the best marketing anyway, right?
Your business doesn’t have to go down the way everyone else does it, and this is so important to remember. I have heard of people getting push back within their communities for branching out in new and innovative ways, and I think that’s total bullshit.
Often, that pushback is because the rest of the community doesn’t understand what you are trying to do / they are stuck in the system and are too afraid to take matters into their own hands, so they’re jealous of your courage.
You don’t have to be ostracized by your community, and if you are, you might want to question how much of a “community” they really were in the first place.
Get excited about your new path for your business and talk about it in a way that feels inclusive and supportive of your colleagues’ choices, and you never know, you may just end up inspiring them to follow suit, and they will see you as their leader, rather than as that freak that decided to go rogue.
What do you think? Have you had a hands-on business and tried to bring it online? Or are you someone who is dying to break out of the system of your profession and do things YOUR way? Tell us in the comments below!
FIgure It Out Friday: I’m Starting From Scratch In My Business. How Long Will It Take To Make Money?
‘Figure It Out Friday’ is a new weekly blog series where you submit your questions and struggles about designing your Uncaged career – and I give you my straight up advice. Because sometimes you just want someone to tell you what to do.
I’m just getting started out with my new coaching business, and it feels so scary to be starting from scratch. I was in a corporate job for 9 years and I always knew what I was doing, but this is totally new and it’s like I’m at the very beginning again! My husband wants me to have a plan to know how much money I will be making, but I have no idea what to tell him! How long will it take me to actually be making money as a new coach?? What kind of progress can I expect?
Ok, I’ll admit. I may have saved this question to be sneakily timed with the launch of the self-study version of Coaching Business Jumpstart. But hey, I have to promote my stuff somehow yo!
Self-promotion aside, my answer to this question is totally legit.
You are NEVER starting from scratch. If that were true, it would mean that all your past life experiences mean absolutely nothing and that all those years of hard won lessons were for nothing.
And that’s not how life works.
Your experience now is a sum total of all of your past life shit – jobs, skills, traumas, travel, grief, joy, mistakes, regrets, lessons learned and experiences had.
And those things are going to be what you build your business around.
Here’s the sneaky thing about building a coaching business – it’s not really about the coaching. What I mean is, it’s your expertise and your bigger picture message (and the tangible results associated with it) that people are going to pay you for. Coaching is simply a skill that you use to bring your expertise out into the world. Your expertise is NOT coaching. It’s something else. Something you’re already good at. Something you care about like, a LOT, because you already have so much experience with it.
There we go. I said it. I don’t believe “coaching” is a viable business model unless it’s centered around your unique expertise.
Yes, this kind of means you have to choose a niche. But it’s so much more than that. It means you get to use EVERYTHING you have learned in your past and center your business around something you actually give a shit about, and then use your new skill of coaching on top of all that expertise.
Which means that instead of starting at the bottom like Drizzy, you’re starting at the top and simply adding more value to what you do with your new skill of coaching.
So you should never think of yourself as a “new” coach, you should think of yourself as a seasoned expert in _________, and know that you already have all the experience you need to get your clients results.
Of course, you have to have a clear sense of what your expertise is and who you want to work with, and then you have to learn to build your business around it (which is exactly what Coaching Business Jumpstart teaches you to do).
Ok, so all that being said…
How long will it take you to start making money? I mean it when I say that it seriously depends on how fast you can get known as the expert at what you do.
On average I would say it takes about 1.5-2 years to get to the place where you feel really solid in your business (and those first few years are usually spent playing around with different projects). It doesn’t mean you won’t make any money before that. It just means that it might take that long to really hone in on your sweet spot, have a sustainable client flow, and learn to leverage your time so you’re not continually exchanging time for money. BUT – if you learn how to center your business around your specific uniqueness right from the beginning and avoid the generic “I help empower people to live from their values and be their best selves” kind of coaching jargon (which NO ONE in the real world really understands anyway), it will happen much much faster for you.
It also depends, of course, on how much hustle you have in you. How excited are you about learning sales and marketing (hint: you’ll do much better if your answer is “SO EFFING EXCITED!”). How willing are you to work your ass off and continue to invest in business training, learn, refine, learn, refine, repeat, until it’s working for you (hint: you’ll do much better if you’re really ready to go all-in in your business).
The honest truth is that you will spend more than 80% of your time in your new business learning how to run a business, rather than actually doing the thing that is your business. So the faster you can get on board with the nuts and bolts of how to actually get clients and make money, the faster it will happen for you (what a redundant statement, right!? But so many people neglect to actually learn that part)
In short, if you want clients to come to you (instead of having to hunt them down), learn how to market your expertise in a way that gets you known FAST.
We teach you how in our Jumpstart program. And this doesn’t just go for coaches. ANY service based business that is kind of obscure or generic or saturated, you will need to learn to market yourself so that you stand out from the crowd with a compelling message and clear expertise.
And it’s when you do that that your business will really start to take off.
So in essence, your success rate is up to you.
Pretty cool, right?
I’d love to hear what you think about marketing your expertise. Have you tried this approach? Do you still feel stuck in figuring out what makes you stand out from the sea of other coaches/health coaches/designers/horse whisperers? Tell us in the comments.
One of the main struggles I see with my clients and the other wanna-be entrepreneurs I’m connected to, is that they come at their new business with this all-or-nothing mentality. They think they have to have it ALL figured out before they start, or else they can’t start.
This happens especially when people are trying to figure out what services to offer, and how to package their products. And most people go about it all backwards (myself included – I totally did this!).
You think about what you might want to offer, then you spend tons of time thinking about how to package it, writing website copy for a sales page, deciding on pricing, and getting the nuts and blots figured out… but you do all this BEFORE you have even tested out your service!
Enter income projects. I first learned about this term from my colleague Alex Baisley, and everything clicked.
What if instead of starting a business, you just started a small project to see how it feels to actually be doing what you think you want to be doing. Like, in real life. With real people. On a really small, no-pressure scale.
So instead of having to make the logo, and come up with the business name, and create the website, and write a sales page, and start a Facebook group and all the other stuff most people think are the first steps – what if you just started actually doing your work with people? And you get to make a little money on the side by charging a nominal fee while you test out all your different ideas (hence why it’s called an income project).
Income projects are great because they take all the pressure off, and they don’t feel as heavy as “starting a business”. And they can usually be done in a matter of a week, so it’s not like you need endless time to plan it.
Here’s a real life example of how an income project might work: Dale has a cooking business where she caters events and bakes super unique cakes for special occasions. She wants to start building her business more online, and wants to start offering online cooking classes, but she’s trying to figure out if this is a good idea or not. So take the mystery out of it and test it out! What Dale could do would be to grab a friend or a current client and say “Hey, I’m thinking of doing cooking classes online. Will you be my guinea pig?”. Then she can figure out a rough idea of how she might like to structure it, and test it out with her friend/client for free or for a low cost.
Another example: Lindsay can’t decide if she wants to start a business based around graphic design, or copywriting, or baking, or fashion coaching. So she might start 4 different income projects to test out these different ways of working with people and see what she enjoys. “Hey, friend, I think I want to start a fashion coaching business. I know you suck at dressing yourself and that you have that big interview coming up. Can I work with you to help you choose the perfect outfit, and see how it goes?” Easy Peasey. She might also connect with someone from the new Uncaged Lifers Facebook group and say “Hey – I’ve always been a writer and I think I want to try my hand at copywriting. Can I help you craft the perfect tagline? I’ll only charge ya $25 as long as you write me a sweet testimonial (if you love what I create for you)” Bam – another income project! Lindsay gets to help someone and test her ideas, and her friend gets some free help and can offer great feedback about how it went on her end, as the client.
Starting a project will help you will learn a TON about how you want to work with people, what works and what doesn’t, but you’ll get great feedback (and maybe even your first testimonial!). And then you can tweak and change and try it again and your services will just start to fall into place.
Instead of sitting there and trying to hammer things out through thinking, you get to let them evolve organically by doing.
Then when you know what you LOVE doing, when you know what you’re GOOD at what you’re doing (based on the feedback you get), and you start to get the feeling that you might want to expand on what you have already tried, then you can start to think about how these projects might take shape as actual business offerings.
Doesn’t that feel so much better than trying to figure it all out ahead of time? NO ONE* (*actual statistic) got it right on the first try. All the people you see killing it online are killing it because they worked their way up through trial and error to eventually find their perfect sweet spot.
Start a project, not a business. It’s WAY easier and will actually get you there faster, because it will take the pressure off AND it will let you finally get started doing something. Sounds way better than being stuck in “I have to get it right!” mode and thus doing nothing, right?
I’d love to hear from you! Are you having trouble figuring out what to offer? What is an income project that you could test out this week that would help you get started? Post your income project idea below and maybe someone in the comments will be willing to be your first test client!