9 min read
Let me tell you a little story about a lady who, in some circles, is considered to be the Oprah of the Internet. She’s famous for her long thick brown hair, some wacky-yet-highly-informative weekly videos, and a not-so-little product (with a name that rhymes with Schmee Schmule) that has made her millions. We’ll call her M.
M was once a hip hop dancer with a dream (like most of us…. um, the dream, not the dancing). Anywho, M’s dream was to be a life coach. Well, to save you from the massive suspense, she became that life coach and then some. Oprah, Tony Robbins, and Richard Branson have all endorsed this long haired beauty. Today, according to Forbes (yeah, Forbes), M runs one of the Top 100 Websites for Entrepreneurs.
So how did M go from high tops to high dollars?
Assuming you’ve already covered point #1 and have a product people want, let’s figure out how to tackle that whole second half, shall we?
While a powerful opt in and an email series that teaches your readers everything you know are a great foundation to creating revenue from your product, growing that revenue can often be a challenge. Where do I find new customers? How can I be of service beyond my emails? Who’s ready to buy right now?
But navel gazing has never helped anything, least of all selling your products. In order to have an impact on your bottom line, it’s time to “get out of the building”.
It’s time for workshops.
Workshops, both live and online, can dramatically increase profits and build scale into your product based business. You can reach new audiences, inspire action, and teach even more than you already do. Don’t believe me? Ask Tara Gentile.
For the last 5 years, Tara Gentile has been running workshops all around the country. And while her business model has shifted (from a social media consultancy to coaching creative business owners in her signature program), workshops have been a foundation of the work Tara does.
Over the years, Tara has run a variety of workshops, webinars, and teleseminars and has said:
[They] have been one of the most effective ways for growing my business coaching practice, practicing public speaking, and educating my customer base. I now have a system that puts the promotion in the hands of my audience and maximizes the return on the time invested.
Well that’s 7 words I want to hear again:
Maximizes the return on the time invested.
If there’s one thing I know we could all use more of, it’s TIME. So here’s Tara’s suggestion:
Choose a topic … Generally, mine fall into 3 categories:
- Material I want to explore further in the pre-product phase.
- Information that’s valuable on its own but makes a great introduction to a paid offering (my own or someone else’s).
- List builders, including big name interviews & free products.
If your goal is to explore information in the pre-product phase, your first priority to gauge your audience’s interest in what you want to teach. If you get a great turn out with lots of questions, you’ve got your answer. Similarly, if there’s just a feeling of excitement or anticipation around the event, you’ll know you’re on to something.
If your goal is to help launch a paid offering, your first priority should be teaching a very specific lesson from that offering and aiming to deliver results on just that lesson. Don’t worry about giving a whole overview – real results are really more effective.
If you’re aiming to build a list, go for those topics that are going to allow you to make a name for yourself. Try to fill a need no one else is filling. You can also partner with a special guest that has a related audience that you can use to fill seats.
(Tara rocking her workshop on CreativeLive)
Once you have your topic, you’re going to need some rockstar skills. And it just so happens that Mariah Coz has a few to share with you.
Mariah, founder of femtrepreneur.co, has been referred to as the ”Queen of Webinars”. And while I’d argue there’s a big difference between what happens on and from a webinar and a workshop (and will share more about that differentiation in a post to come soon), Mariah’s rockstar expertise have certainly skyrocketed her success.
One key Mariah utilizes in her strategy is free preview trainings. These events are typically a small portion of her product, a paired down version of the entire product, or a video series aimed at getting her customers one single result. These preview trainings end with a call to action to get the attendees over to her website and buying her product. Mariah has these events dialed in and her attendees sure do take action.
In under a month, Mariah earned over $30k from getting out in front of new audiences. And month over month, revenue grows on new products for Mariah thanks to her consistent efforts and focus on those new audiences.
(Running workshops like a boss)
Look, launching new products is incredibly stressful. Sure, creating them is invigorating. Sharing them with your friends and family… exciting. Collecting names and email addresses of people who are interested in buying your fancy new product… thrilling! But launching them? Making money off of your new product again and again? That’s the stressful part.
And Mariah, admittedly, is no stranger to this stress factor.
But here’s the thing. With workshops and a few other key promotional strategies, Mariah has changed her entire outlook on her business:
I had a peace of mind and stability as an entrepreneur that I NEVER thought I could have. Financially AND emotionally – I was able to look at my business model and finally say “okay – I think I’ve actually figured this shit out!” and that is an AMAZING feeling for us self-employed people!
Which brings us to the grandest plan of them all: selling the seats inside your workshops and creating even more revenue without creating something completely from scratch.
In the full version of Authority, our own Nathan Barry shares a bonus video with the story of Brennan Dunn. Brennan wrote a book called Double Your Freelancing Rate which was targeted at the entry point to his particular market. He quickly recognized that the upper end of the market, those who want to build agencies and not just remain freelancers, had a need he could serve with a workshop.
Since the book wasn’t written for them, Brennan built a workshop around this top tier of his market and priced his event at $1,000 per ticket (because those higher end clients are willing to spend more), with just 25 seats to sell. It was a 2 day workshop that sold out nearly immediately and left him with rave reviews – an easy way to raise the price and lower the number of seats for more one on one time inside the workshop.
I hear you thinking “Look, workshops are a winning strategy, that much is clear. But HOW do I actually pull one off?”
Well that’s a great question. I knew I liked you and I’m so glad you asked.
Once your seats are sold, a simple and cost effective solution to hosting the workshop online is:
In person workshops are also effective, though they tend to take a bit more planning and typically mean more overhead (read: less money in your pocket at the end of the day). You can view these workshops as part of your overall marketing strategy and be sure to really take care of everyone there. Try to borrow the venue if possible to save money and be sure to get lots of photos, video, and testimonials from the day for your use in the future. Make good on your promise to deliver valuable content and enjoy putting it all together!
And now Tara, Mariah, Nathan, and Brennan would all be sad if I didn’t at least mention that it seems workshops are not only effective marketing and list building efforts, but effective revenue generating activities (you’re getting that, right? Good.) Since we’ve established that workshops are a good idea for everyone, I have just one question for you: when is your next workshop?
Use the comment section below to hold yourself accountable to hosting a workshop for your product. Post the date, topic, and even a link to sign up (because if you’re using ConvertKit you can create a landing page in just a few minutes!) and let’s all grow our product-based businesses with workshops this year.