Ep. 126 Creating a group programme #askanna

creating a group programme

In today’s episode, Anna looks at creating a group programme.

In a new series on the podcast, Anna is answering your questions. Want Anna to answer yours? Send your question to podcast@onestepoutside.com.

*Resources mentioned during the episode*

The One Step Outside Facebook group – Join us over in the Facebook group to meet like-minded people who are working on reimagining success in their life and business and to get access to direct support and free training sessions from Anna. www.facebook.com/groups/onestepoutside

Join the One Step Outside the 9 to 5 Business Incubator – This is your roadmap to transitioning from a corporate job into setting up a meaningful business that will bring you more freedom, flexibility and fulfilment outside of the corporate 9 to 5. www.onestepoutside.com/9to5

Level up with The Outsiders Business Accelerator – This is a mastermind for entrepreneurs, freelancers and small business owners who want to create a long-term sustainable brand and business. www.onestepoutside.com/accelerate


Creating a group programme


Hello. Hello there. And welcome back to the Reimagining Success Podcast with me, Anna Lundberg. And we’re mixing things up a little bit here. We have a new format, a new episode format for you today, which is the ask Anna, hashtag ask Anna. And so I thought it’d be good idea to listen to you, my listeners, which of course I’m doing anyway. But to make this really an explicit episode for you all. A series where you can ask me your questions and I can answer them for you live here or prerecorded, of course for you, but I’m live here on the podcast. So I’ve been asking in the group, I’ll be asking my email list. And of course you who are watching on YouTube or listening on your podcast app, you can send me any questions you have to podcasts@onestepoutside.com. Podcast@onestepoutside.com.

Now, of course it’ll most likely get answered sooner rather than later if you ask me questions around the content that I’m sharing at the moment. So we’re talking business models at the moment, and that’s what I have a question on today. If it doesn’t quite fit, then I’ll probably save it till later in the year when I’m covering a different aspect of building a sustainable business. But of course, if it is really urgent, then do let me know. And I might be able to answer in private as well in the meantime. If you desperately need the answer to some question that isn’t what I’m covering right now, of course you can also join the Facebook group, message me on another social platform as well, or join one of my programmes. So lots of opportunities, but specifically this episode, ask Anna. So hashtag ask Anna, you can ask any questions at podcast@onestepoutside.com.

Now let’s dive straight into it. The first question I had this week from so many of my Facebook group was, in the context of business models, “Okay. How do I go about creating my first group programme?” Now, specifically, this was related to creating that passive income, that very, very attractive, passive income we’ve all heard so much about. So how do I create a group programme? A course? A membership programme? And so the first question I would ask you, the listener and the person who asked me this question is, “Okay, why do you want to launch a group programme?”

And of course there is that attractive idea of passive income. And I’m talking, we’re talking here about business models that really work for you. So the benefit of something that’s more passive let’s say is that you don’t have to be there showing up live every day, you’re not trading time for money as we are in a nine to five job, perhaps as a freelancer as well, where we’re delivering a service within certain hours, or we’re being charged a rate or rather we are charging a rate by the hour. And so something like a group programme sounds very appealing.

So if this is something you are looking at to serve a particular purpose and help you live a certain lifestyle, it’s just really important to ask, is this the right type of programme, type of delivery format I guess, for you as well as of course for your client? And we’ll get that in a moment. So we use these things a bit interchangeably, but a group programme, a mastermind, a course, a membership programme, they can be very different and you need to make sure that you’re choosing the thing for you. And of course, once you get to the nitty gritty of it, that you’re setting it up to work for you. So my first question to you is, is this even the right thing that you want to do? So why do you want a group programme? Bear in mind that it’s not completely passive.

So if we take my group programme, for example, I launched the business incubator in 2018 I believe, it was the same year I did my book and my podcast, when I started my podcast. And for me, it was having done one-to-one for a year or two, it was really, or in fact, more than that, several years, three, four years, it was time for me to leverage my time better. I couldn’t serve more clients in those one-to-one sessions. And so I wanted to bring also the same learnings, the same processes to more people. And after working individually with people, I really discovered okay look I’m repeating myself again and again, rather than me sitting here, one to one with you, I can actually create a prerecorded training, a framework, a PDF, an exercise that I can then send to both prospects in fact, and clients, when you have those questions.

However, it’s not completely passive because I still have to create that content. Yes, it happened organically while I was working one-to-one, but I created a lot of video, audio, PDFs, over the course of the first time I ran that live programme. And now it’s a bit more passive because the material exists there. I still need to update it, I want to update it, I answer questions when they come, I have a monthly group call still. Initially we did fortnightly calls, then it was weekly calls, and now group calls and that’s working really, really well. Of course, I’m also responding to clients in the WhatsApp group and so on. So it’s not completely passive.

And, but that’s the first question. Why do you want to have a group programme? And of course, by the way, it’s the same for a course. A course, you need to create the content, you need to update the content, not to mention you to market and sell. And a membership programme, which tends to be a lower priced offering. And you need to create content that’s being released every month and so on. So again, just set your realistic expectations as to what your lifestyle is going to be like with this so-called passive product.

Now, the second thing is to start with one-to-one. This is something I advise and I’ve heard other people say the same thing. As I just described to you, I started by delivering one-to-one coaching. And when you’re starting out, you only have a handful of clients that works really well. It’s actually easier to get a client here, a client there when you’re starting out, you don’t yet have the massive audience that you’re going to need to make money with a course or a membership programme, unless you’re charging the big bucks. And it’s easier to get a few people here and there rather than trying to get, oh, I want 10 people in this programme right now, and then have this cohort going through stage one, two, three, four, five of the programme.

So if you’re going to have group calls and so one, one of the barriers of course can be, “Oh, I feel a bit embarrassed to know I’m inviting them to a Facebook group and it’s empty the first time round. There are no people on the calls.” So I don’t want to do all this hoopla and then launch a programme with just one person. Having individual clients avoids that. More importantly, though, as a new coach or consultant or business owner, it gives you a chance as an expert to develop your expertise, to really refine that. Even if you have many years of experience, it’s always great if you’re putting together this new format, really being able to prove that model works, I suppose. To refine it live with your clients as they ask you questions and challenge you and so on. Rather than having created lots of frameworks and things, and actually they then don’t work because you’re just putting them on the website, hoping that people follow them, which often they don’t.

In fact, when it’s completely passive and then leaving them to it. The benefit of one-to-one is I can sit here with you and I can give you an exercise, you can ask me questions, you can say that didn’t quite work and so on. So we get feedback, we can revise, and refine the content and also testimonials. So we can get feedback that we can actually use on our website. So next time I do, then launch a group programme I can say, “Hey, John said it was incredible, and Sarah loved this particular framework.” No, they haven’t gone through the group programme, but they’re referring to the same frameworks that you’re now going to teach and use in the group programme.

The other benefit of this is that while you work one-to-one, you can build your audience so that when you’re ready to launch the group programme, you have an audience who is interested in what you have to sell and to say, but specifically they are potentially interested in what you have to sell and you have the frameworks already developed and you have testimonials to back it up. So it’s going to be easier for you. So, in the interest of making things simpler for yourself then, I would advise you to start with one-to-one.

Now let’s say you’ve done the one-to-one or perhaps you’re coming to this, knowing that all your frameworks and ideas and strategies and processes are completely validated. You’ve been doing this for years, if not decades, internally in companies and so now you’re just bringing it to a new format, I suppose, or bring it outside. Now, putting it together, one of the biggest mistakes I see with clients is that they ask a lot of questions around, “Okay, should it be this many calls or that many calls? How often? Which days in the week? And what times and how long?” And so on. And you’re really coming at it from the wrong angle. So what I want you to think about is first, what’s the problem you’re solving?

What’s the A to B of the journey that the client is to go on? So, I have no idea what business I want to start to, oh, I’ve got a really clear idea. I’ve got a plan. Now I know how to move forward. Or I have the business, but I don’t yet have the income coming in, to okay, I’ve got a great revenue model I’m beginning to get consistent income. Let’s say those are a couple of examples from my own experience. So what’s the problem you’re solving A to B?

Now, what do they need to know and understand to get there? Because another mistake we make is we just pack the programme full of so much, especially when we’re not very confident. It’s really easy to think, I’ve got to put more calls in and more content and actually the better your programme, the less content you need, because it’s so effective, you’re really tailoring them. Think about this for a second, we’re all super busy. Yes, it might seem like for you that you’re giving them all this stuff. And on the sales page, I can say I’ve got all these calls and materials and frameworks. And you see those really long sales pages where you have thousands, and thousands of bonuses worth thousands, of thousands of dollars or whatever. And it just overwhelms me. And I know that the fewer calls you have the better. One call a month and for implementation, opportunity to ask questions, boom. Maybe that’s enough.

So really think about what’s the best way you, as the expert know this, what’s the best way to take your client from A to B? And how can you best deliver that? Is it a live call? Is it a group call? Is it a Q and A once a month, a recorded live training? So my business accelerator, for example, it’s people who already have the business framework established and they know what they’re doing. We’re just looking at refining and optimising. So there are new, one new training every month, which to be honest, is 20 to 30 minutes, there’s then a live session. And that’s the most important one where we’re really getting the accountability, the implementation, masterminding, asking questions and so on. And that’s it. It’s so tempting, even for me now to pack the programme full of stuff and more calls, but we’re all busy. We’re busy running a business. And in your case, perhaps you’re also busy in a full-time job. And so the less you can give people to do.

As an example, by the way, we’re going off on tangent here. If I want to get fit and lose weight, it might seem like you as the nutrition coach, personal trainer want to give me all this shenanigans, all these sparkly bits and bobs for me to do. If you tell me I can do a seven minute exercise plan every day or even three times a week, and that’s going to get me the results or do 10 squats, five times a week or something, and that’ll get me my bomb that I want, that’s much more attractive than giving me this super extensive programme. That’s just going to become overwhelming and I won’t stick with it.

So, really think about what’s the minimum. Probably, come up with a plan and then strip away most of what you put in there. So what’s the problem you’re solving? What do they need to know or understand to get there? And then what is the best way in which you can deliver that? And then finally, a few dos, and don’ts. Do’s, and don’ts that I’ve written down here. Now, the first one is a bit controversial, but it’s, don’t spend months and months creating content before you even have an audience to sell to.

People come to me and maybe this is the intent of the question, “What should I craft? What content? What should I record?” Again, the format, getting hooked up onto the technicalities of it and before you even know if anyone’s interested. So a few months ago, I sent an email to my list saying, “Hi, I’m thinking of launching this new group programme around personal branding. Are you interested?” And I got a good group of people together who are interested, and now I can work on putting that together and we can move ahead. If I had spent a year recording materials, and designing fancy frameworks and booklets and things, and then everybody said, or nobody said anything, nobody was interested. That’d be a waste of my time. So don’t spend months and months on planning and creating the content. Now I’m all about planning.

And certainly I imagine you as the expert want to do an amazing job. So don’t sell something when you don’t have any idea how you’re going to deliver it. So definitely have a think about it. When I initially launched my programme, I’d thought through, “Okay, these are the six modules. This is the structure.” And of course I had recorded the first month or two. But after that, I was recording as I went, because that also means you can tailor it to the group. So do plan but have some flexibility and you don’t need to pre-record everything before. So outline the whole thing, record the first month or so. And that’s what you need to do.

Now, the second don’t is don’t price it so low that you need thousands of people to get into it, to make it financially viable for you. There’s the financial piece that if you don’t have the huge audience, the huge platform, then having a very low priced membership, of course you’re going to need so many people buying that to make it worth your while. So unless it’s just a stepping stone on your path to purchase to a bigger offer, I’d really recommend [inaudible 00:12:23], I’d recommend really creating something with more value that then you can charge more for.

The other side of this is, if you’re not charging enough, you’re going to get resentful. People unfortunately, the ones who pay the least tend to be the ones who complain the most. In my experience, people who are self-motivated, investing in themselves, are the ones who will do the work. And they won’t bother you too much because they’re busy doing the work. The ones who are really difficult clients are the ones who aren’t paying very much. They’re totally being over serviced by you. They’re really annoying. And you’re wasting your time with them.

So actually charging the right amount so that you can feel really good about over delivering or really giving them what they need, showing up, giving them the support, whether it’s the number of calls or one-to-one access to you, whatever, that they will need in order to get the amazing results. That’s going to turn them into an ambassador for you and your brand and your programme and to live their best lives, whatever the goal is that you’re promising to give them.

Which brings me onto the final one, which is when you launch a group programme, do not be discouraged if you only get two or three people into it. Hopefully you will get more people because you will have follow the steps that I’ve just outlined in terms of starting one to one and so on and building your audience. However, I had someone I spoke to just a few months ago and she was really happy that I told her this, and she reframed success for herself in the group programme that she launched.

She had a couple of people, but what I said was, “Look, respect that these incredible people have taken their time and money to invest in you. They’re here now with you. So give them your very best self as if they are, which they are, the most important clients to you. Over deliver, give them an incredible experience, help them get the results that you’re promising. And they’ll be those fantastic ambassadors for you. They’ll probably come back and want to work with you again, in some other area to the next level, they’ll recommend you to other people and they’ll give you beautiful testimonials to you.”

So please don’t cancel just because you have a couple of people, the benefit of having a business like ours in terms of online, very low overheads and so on, is that it doesn’t cost me a lot to show up. Now, yes, it’s an hour of my time to show up to that group call, but two people, 10 people, it’s the same amount of time. So make sure again, you’ve priced it to be worth your while, even if it is just two people. And that takes the pressure off a little bit. But please, please, don’t worry. And guess what happens? Have those two people, do an incredible job, and then, hey, next time round and get more people in.

Now, I’m talking about this as if you’re doing launches and bringing in cohorts, my personal preference, which is perhaps another episode is to have evergreen or ongoing joining. That’s not a great articulate way of putting that, but saying, “You can bring people in whenever.” It takes the pressure off you from having this massive launch spike. Again, it then requires, it doesn’t matter if I’ve had 50 people in my group programme, a hundred, if they all finish in December, then 1st of January, oh my gosh, I need another 50. And that puts a lot of pressure on you.

So I prefer the rolling enrollment is what I was going for, that’s a more articulate way of describing it. So ongoing enrollment works for me, but again, of course, you’re the expert in terms of the content that you’re taking people through. For me, when people are starting businesses, it’s really helpful to learn from other people who are further along than you are, perhaps early in the process, you can help each other out. And perhaps in your particular instance, it is better to have a cohort because you’re already teaching them step one, two, three, four, five, and they have to stick to those.

So again, lots of things to consider and lots more we can talk about here, but thank you so much for that question. Again, it was, “How do I put together a group programme?” I hope you found that useful. I hope you’re going to enjoy this new episode format. I have another new episode format for you next week, which you’ll hear all about then. But in the meantime, if you have a question for me, ask Anna, please, just email podcast@onestepoutside.com. You can send me the question you can hashtag ask Anna to be super cool and I’ll make sure to answer on a future episode.

Thanks so much for listening, and I will see you very soon and see you next week in fact. Bye for now.


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