AMY PORTERFIELD: Hey there, Amy Porterfield here. Welcome to another episode of The Online Marketing Made Easy Podcast. In fact, this is the final episode of 2015. How the heck did we get to the end of 2015 so quickly?
Where did this year go? Can you relate? I feel like it has just flown by, but we are officially here. This episode is called Seven Ways to Work Smarter and 2016. But, let’s be honest. If you’re listening to this well into 2016, maybe even beyond 2016, this is still going to be a very valuable episode because I’m just talking about different ways to approach your work so that you get more done, you’re more satisfied with the work you’re doing, you’re happier with the work you’re doing, and we’re going to talk about selling so you’re also going to be very happy with your bottom line.
What I’ve done is actually use a book to guide me through this lesson for you. It’s a book I’ve brought up a few times. Every time someone asks my favorite business book, can you guess which book I read?
I go to it over and over again so if you’ve ever heard me on someone else’s podcast you probably already know the answer to this one. I wish we could do a little contest and the first one to call it out would win. But, we can’t do that. The book is called Rework from the guys at Basecamp.
This book is kind of an oldie but goodie now. It didn’t just come out but I’m always referring back to it and I’ve talked about it in some of my other episodes. Now I have gone through it one more time and have pulled out some of the most important pieces of this book that can really give us some great lessons and strategies for building an online business.
If you want to create online training programs and courses then these strategies and tips I am going to share today are going to be really applicable because I’m focusing on helping you get more done with less time, less money, fewer resources, all that good stuff.
We’re going to focus on three words as we work our way through seven ways to work smarter. The first word is “strategy”, the second word is “saving” (saving money, saving time, saving resources), and the third word is “selling”.
Each of the ways to work smarter will either deal with strategy, saving, or selling, the three S’s. I’m really excited to dive in. I’ve spent way too many hours putting this content together and making sure it is really valuable for you.
Before we get there, a quick word about our sponsor. I want to thank our sponsor today, 99Designs. I am such a huge fan of this company because they can take care of all of your graphic needs. We are talking logos, social media cover images, website graphics, and so much more. So visit www.99Designs.com/amy and get a $99 upgrade for free.
Are you ready to dive in? Let’s do this.
Strategy #1: Embrace Your Constraints
The first way to work smarter in 2016 is to embrace your constraints. I chose this as our first strategy because I know many of you have small teams. Maybe they are small but mighty teams. You might have a VA on your team, maybe another part-time person, but maybe right now it’s just you. Or maybe you have some constraints in terms of your budget or resources or time. There are a lot of people listening that are still in the 9-to-5 and are doing this on the side and wanting to make it bigger.
We all have constraints, but when we are just starting out many of us have constraints that are really serious. They really are going to limit us. Inside the book, Rework, they talk about limited resources and this is exactly what they say: “Limited resources force you to make do with what you’ve got. There’s no room for waste and that forces you to be creative.”
I truly do believe if you embrace your constraints and you know you don’t have enough money, time, knowledge, experience, or support and embrace that, realizing you are limited in one or more of those areas, then ask what you can do with what you’ve got, it makes an entirely new experience for you.
You can’t go down the road of “poor me, it’s not fair, I don’t have enough of this or that.” We’re not going to play that game at all. Instead we’re going to ask what we can do with what we’ve got. If you find yourself starting to talk to a friend or if you talk to yourself thinking you don’t have enough of something, you’ve got to turn that around.
I subscribe to a way of doing business that I first heard from my friend, Brad Martienau of Sixth Division. He was on stage and I wasn’t even there, someone Instagrammed this but I knew I had to have it. I literally had to call Brad and tell him I needed to steal it and use it.
He said he wanted to encourage people to pursue simple and get fancy later. When I heard it, I knew that was the philosophy I build my business on. So, in today’s strategies I am teaching, it’s all about building a stronger foundation in your business.
By stronger foundation, I mean the core principles that you really should always be focusing on and definitely, if you’re in the first few years of business, they should be your only focus. I’ll get to the foundation in just a moment, but let’s get back to “pursue simple, get fancy later.”
I want you to write it on a post-it note or put it somewhere you will always remember it when you are working on new projects. It’s really easy to want to create something spectacular. So many of you are those super high achievers. It’s got to be really good. Many of you have a million ideas flooding your brain at every minute.
If you follow my podcasts, you’ve probably heard me say that is not me. I don’t have tons of ideas all of the time. I really do look at that as a huge perk in my life. I’m not constantly distracted by some really great ideas that I just came up with. It sounds weird that I’m happy I don’t have tons of great ideas all the time. But I really do think it keeps me on course.
It allows me to be a good teacher in that I can really encourage you to focus on one thing at a time. And I can show you, through proof of my own business, that it really does pay off when you can do that. If you have that ability to have tons of ideas, I want to encourage you to look at everything you’re working on right now and ask yourself honestly what you are trying to make spectacular that could actually be completed and be just good enough.
I know as a high achiever that’s hard for you to hear. But that’s where the results are. That’s where they are waiting for you, in “just good enough”. I always tell my students there is no need to reinvent the wheel. Find out what’s working in your business and keep doing it again and again all the while getting better and better.
For me, it’s always been webinars. I started with webinars and did pretty good. Over the years I’ve just perfected how I do them. I have perfected how I use them in my business. I perfected how I teach them. It’s been a huge focus of mine. I have just recently created the program but I have always used them in my business.
What is your one thing (it might be a selling vehicle like webinars but it might be something totally different)? We all have one thing we can perfect and make better and better and make more profitable and more profitable and ultimately make a bigger impact. If you’ve got a bunch of those things, we’ve got to pursue simple and we’ll get fancy later.
One way to keep it really simple is to totally ignore the details early on. This is from the book as well because they have a whole chapter (the chapters are two pages – another reason I love the book) about ignoring the details right now. So many of you can get value from this.
An example in the book is an architect. When an architect starts a project they are not thinking of what the dishwasher will look like in the kitchen or what tile to put in the bathroom floors. They’re not thinking of any of those details at all. They are thinking about building the foundation. They are ignoring all the rest in those early stages.
For your business, when I talk about early stages, I’m either talking about your first years of business or out of the first years of business but in the early stages of a new project. Hear me out. This is my big lesson for the first strategy, Embrace Your Constraints.
To me, the foundation of your business is THE most important piece of the puzzle. We all need to come back to the foundation to ask ourselves whether we set a really strong foundation so that everything from there can grow and build.
For me, a foundation is what you stand for, what you teach (your core content), who your audience is, what your audience needs, and what you’re going to sell. Until you got that all nailed down and until you create consistent content on a weekly basis to an audience that is genuinely interested in what you have to share, everything else does not matter. Truly, it doesn’t.
Your logo doesn’t matter, your website redesign you want to work on does not matter, the colors of your business do not matter, your business card really doesn’t matter, you saying “yes” to a million things that take you away from the foundation, those million things do not matter right now.
We are going to talk about saying “yes” and saying “no” in a moment but I really want to hit home with this foundation idea because I think it’s something we really quickly go through and then say it’s all fine and then we work on the nice shiny, exciting things, and never come back to the foundation.
I feel one of the secrets to my success is that I worked on the foundation for a really long time and didn’t really steer away from it until I knew it was solid. Then I started trying new things, experimenting more, but I really had to get that foundation tight.
If you’re confused a little bit about your avatar and are not sure exactly what they need, you feel you are selling something your audience just isn’t responding to just yet, or maybe you feel your core content is a little wonky and you aren’t being consistent with it and not really sure what to create, you’ve got to come back to the foundation and spend more time there. Pursue simple, get fancy later. That one little motto will help you secure the foundation right now.
Strategy #2: Saving time
The next way to work smarter focuses on saving time. But it goes beyond that. In Rework they call it being a curator. They say it best: “It’s the stuff you leave out that matters.” That is so true with your online training programs. I thought this was a really important one for you to focus on in 2016 and beyond, being a curator. Let’s talk about that.
When you’re in a museum, what you see on the walls is just as important as what you don’t see on the walls. There’s a curator involved that decided what would be perfect for the museum and what could not be in the museum because it would throw people off or create the wrong feeling or emotion or would send people down the wrong road in terms of what was trying to be created.
I want you to be a curator just like if you were going to put together an amazing museum. Instead, you’re putting together an amazing online training program. Being a curator means you are going to omit, cut out, remove, simplify (I love that word), or streamline your online training programs.
It’s not only extremely valuable that you curate your programs, it also gives you some breathing room. When you try to cram everything into an online training program it is very overwhelming for you as that content creator. I speak from very personal experience.
When things become too much inside of a program it’s hard to manage, the flow is completely off, you have too many pieces floating around, and your audience (students inside the program) are not really sure where they are supposed to be focusing.
I’m going to be coming out with a program in 2016 all about creating online training programs. I think I have something unique to share in terms of how I do it and how I make them work. I’ve been doing them since Day One of leaving my corporate job so I thought it was an area I really wanted to share with you.
To give you a little hint of my broad strokes in creating online training programs, it really does start with being a curator. Let me give you an example in the real world: I just remodeled my home with my husband, Hobie. Let me tell you, if you’ve ever gone through a remodel, no one warned me this would be one of the most stressful things I’ve ever done. I know it sounds dramatic and “poor me, I get to remodel my home.”
I know I’m very lucky to be able to do so. However, for months and months we lived with plastic everywhere. You couldn’t sit on the couch. The doors didn’t work because we had gotten new doors. They were boarded up. It was kind of a huge mess with plastic on the floors, cabinets torn out. I hated every minute of it but I knew I would get to a place where I absolutely loved it.
At the time of this records, we are literally 98% done so we are just going to say we are done. But, I had to fill up this house with furniture. We’ve lived here a year and a half with literally no furniture when you walked into my house. People would say, “Oh you’ve just moved in?”
I wanted to lie because I was so embarrassed but I just didn’t know what to do with the house yet. Finally, I have furniture. But there is one store here in Carlsbad, California, where I live that is just my style. I absolutely love it. The store is Curated, kind of funny that we are talking about curating something and that is the name of the store in my example.
When I walk into Curated everything there totally fits into the kind of style I have for this house. I found myself going back to it again and again. There are a million stores here in Carlsbad and San Diego and a lot of places to shop online. But I just kept gravitating back to the store because I was overwhelmed online and when I went into other stores that weren’t totally my style but had a few things, again, I was totally overwhelmed.
When I went into the one store, everywhere I looked it was exactly what I needed. I was in and out. I came home and placed everything. It looked great. I went back for more. That’s what I want to happen with your online training programs. I want people to get into them and think they are home and they are exactly where they need to be. They will think there is nothing there they should not focus on, it is all totally created for them to get an end result. There is not a lot of fluff, there is nothing that’s going to be overwhelming.
That’s what I want for your programs. It is something I’ve been working toward in my own programs. It is not something that happens overnight. You have to be really aware of it. So, using my own story of going into a store knowing it is my store and they have exactly what I want, I want you to keep that in mind for your own programs. I want you to be selective with what you put in your online training programs.
I want you to respect your own time. Sometimes you add so much that you will work on the program for months and months and never truly finish. That’s probably the biggest thing I hear from my students, “I’m working on an online training program.” In reality, they have been working on it for six months. That is not necessary.
You can get your program content done in 30 days if you stay really focused and you curate that content. I also want you to respect your clients’ time. When they go into a program and it’s going to take them an honest 60 to 90 days to even get through the training videos, is that what your clients want and do they have time for that?
Ultimately, you want them to get through the program so they get results. If you add the kitchen sink and then some they will probably never get through the program and will never get results. You will never get amazing testimonials.
Let’s be honest, as content curators, we want those testimonials. You’ve got to create a program that people can actually get through. I want you to look back at the program you are creating right now or one that you have created and ask yourself, “Is it incredibly tailored to the immediate needs of my ideal avatar?”
If it’s not, if the flow is kind of off or if there’s way too much content or if they are not even sure where to start or what to do in the middle and how to end it, you have got to go back to the drawing board. If you can nail that, the word of mouth on your program is going to be incredible.
To this day, we might do business online, but word of mouth, as we know when people start talking about it on social media, telling their friends, mentioning it in private Facebook groups, that sells as well. Making sure the content is curated is so very valuable.
Strategy #3: Building a More Focused Product
That sends me into our third way to work smarter, a strategy all about building a more focused product. I kind of already talked about this with curating but I want to get into this in a little bit of a different way. Inside Rework they talk about building a more focused product. They call it the epicenter.
What is the epicenter of your product? What is the one most important thing your product is solving or bringing to the table? I wanted to tell you a little story about this because it goes beyond just curating awesome content, leaving stuff out, and putting stuff in. We want to look at it in a bigger picture. The epicenter is the one thing that is really important.
Some of you have been in my Profit Lab program. It’s been an incredible product. I have had it since 2012 and I promote it a few times each year. We’ve gotten amazing results, definitely. But I’ve also listened closely to those that haven’t gotten through the entire program. I’ve asked them questions. I’ve gotten on the phone with them.
There are a big handful of people that went through the program and did some of it but didn’t do all of it. I realize the reason they didn’t do all of it because their business wasn’t ready for it. With the Profit Lab, if you have something to sell and you’re focused on list building, then the Profit Lab was perfect for you.
I attract a lot of people that are working on something to sell. They don’t really have that one thing figured out and that’s a reason I am helping people create online training programs in the New Year. But when you go into the program, if you don’t have something to sell just yet, the Profit Lab isn’t a perfect fit for you.
I realized I needed to back up. If I wanted to really support my audience I needed to first focus on that one thing that was going to make a really big impact in their business before they sold anything. For my audience and me that means list building.
I have decided to actually put the Profit Lab on a shelf for now and create a program that only focuses on list building. If you know me at all you know I really, truly believe you don’t have a viable online business if you do not have a really quality email list. This is something I have to help my students do.
I have to help them build a quality email list so that their business is legit and so they can stand on their own two feet and don’t have to worry about other people promoting for them or hope someone sees their post on social media to sell something or pray that something will come along to finally make their business work. It’s the list.
The list is the first thing that builds the foundation in your business that I’ve been talking about. I tell you all of this not to toot my own horn and tell you I have product coming out in the new year that will help you (I do), but I really tell you all of this because I want you to look at what you’re creating right now, or what you’ve already created. Have you gotten to the epicenter of what your audience really needs right now?
Sometimes that’s a product suite. For me, I will have a program about list building and a program about building an online course and a program about selling that online course through webinars. That’s a product suite and I want you all to start thinking about your product suite but then promise me you only focus on one piece of the puzzle. If I was trying to do all of those products right now I would be a nervous wreck. It’s too much. But, if I focus on one at a time then it’s really doable.
That’s what I want you to do, this strategy to build a more focused product. Step back a little bit and question whether you have really focused on that one major need they need right now. Or did you try to build a product that meets five needs but is too much, is overwhelming, and keeps people from getting through the program? That’s not serving you or your clients.
I have been in business for a while and I had to really step back, even now, to see what I have missed. Profit Lab has been an amazing program. Again, I really want to be honest with you. We’ve gotten amazing results from so many people. But, I want to help those people that didn’t get through my program. I realized there is a need and I have to address it on its own.
If you go into my program and don’t have anything to sell, you love the list-building part but I could have built that out even more so if I knew you weren’t ready to sell yet. I could have dove really deep into list building making sure that your list is building every day. Then, when you are ready you can go into one of my programs about creating something and about selling something. Do you see how that works?
I want you to do the same. This was a huge a-ha for me that I had to come to over the years. You may not totally see the picture yet but I wish I had thought about this years ago. That’s why I’m encouraging you to look at your product suite. It’s so very important.
One more thing I want to talk about with working smarter and having it relate to building a focused product, when you build a focused product or suite of products and you really pour yourself into those programs, you make them very unique to what you know and how you teach, you never have to worry about people ripping off your content.
I bring that up now because I get that question a lot. People ask what happens if they build a program and people start stealing your content. They want to know what they can do, whether they can copyright it or get a lawyer involved.
I have seen my actual programs being sold by people that totally ripped off the content. They keep my name on it, they just sell it for insanely cheap prices and I feel that anyone that would buy that doesn’t have integrity anyway so I don’t even worry about that stuff. But I’m talking about somebody taking your idea and making it their own.
If that were to happen then, of course, that’s a really horrible feeling. But if you pour yourself into your own products and make them really unique no one ever could teach content the way you teach it. Inside online training programs if you create different themes or exercises or just little, unique teaching styles inside your products, then they are your own.
With my products, after every training I will say something like, “Now we’ve come to the action slide. I want you to …” I end each of my trainings the same way with an exercise or action that is really unique to what I just taught. You will find that in almost all of my programs.
I might add some special mottos or mantras that I want people to use. There is always a mindset training inside my actual training about strategies, tips, and tricks. There are unique things you can do inside your programs. So, just know that if you do “you” inside your programs you never have to worry about someone ripping off your content and taking all of your clients. It just doesn’t happen.
I think Nikki Elledge Brown is a really good example of this. She has a unique style of communicating. In her defense, she is a communication stylist. That’s actually what people call her. But, when you read her emails and when you talk to her on the phone and go inside her programs, she has a really unique style of explaining things and talking to her audience.
She has little sayings she uses and her humor is really unique. That’s her. No one could ever create a copy writing program that will rip off Nikki because Nikki has her own style. I just want to remind you of that. When you really own it you never, ever have to worry again about people taking that away from you. It’s yours, it’s your style, it’s your content. No one can do it like that so don’t even worry about that. That shouldn’t even take space up in your head, just create an awesome program.
Strategy #4: Make Decisions Often
Let’s talk about making decisions often. But, before we get there, I have to tell you something that just happened. I paused while I was recording this and went downstairs to get some more coffee. It’s really early in the morning, I’m a morning person so I record these early.
I went downstairs to get some coffee and I was hearing a pitter patter, poop, poop. I was wondering what it was. Then I thought, “please, please tell me it’s not what I think it is.” I literally just got done telling you guys we did construction here at the house. We remodeled. It literally ended just days ago.
When I went downstairs I heard water. Sure enough, it’s raining and water is coming through my living room. We have a split in our ceiling and water is literally just raining into my living room all over my new furniture, all over the new wood floors. I hope you are cringing like I am right now because I was in shock.
My husband is at the fire station so it is just me here with my dog, Gus. Gus is licking up all of the water and I am thinking I need to just decide I am going to laugh at this. Other than that, my only other option is to just freak out.
Basically, it has been about an hour since I have been back at this computer because I’ve been getting all of the water up, moving all of the furniture, and calling the roofer. I’m not sure what happened, but we officially have rain in our living room. That’s good stuff, right?
But I’m just going to remain positive and know that insurance will cover it. It kind of kills me because Christmas is right around the corner and we have family coming. We are just going to have to make light of this.
I had to share that with you all because I just got done telling you about our big remodel and now it’s raining in my house. Good stuff.
Okay, let’s get back to the matter at hand. This is real life, people. We are really doing this and life goes on so I had to share.
Making decisions often; a lot of times people will ask me, “How did you grow your business so quickly? What was your secret sauce?” They want to know what I would attribute all of that to. I always say I take action every single day toward the goals.
I am always making decisions. It is rare that I sit on something for a while. That’s just kind of my own personality. That’s how I do things. Sometimes I make decisions a little too quickly and kind of have to go back and fix them. I’m not saying I’m perfect at this. However, it is something that I find really valuable and that is to make decisions often and quickly.
Inside Rework, they say, “Let’s swap out the idea of thinking about this for a while with the mindset of deciding on it now.” As you move into the new year, whenever you are listening to this, I want you to catch yourself when you start to say to your team or yourself, “I’m going to think about that for a while.”
It’s okay to think about it for a little while, but when it gets into many days and many weeks or months then you know you might have a problem and it might be time to change the way you are doing things. The important part of making decisions often, the way I see it, when you make a swift decision things can then happen.
Momentum starts to happen, movement. That might mean that things start moving forward and going great and you are getting big results because you have made the decisions that needed to be made. But it might also mean you have made a decision so now you have movement, and then some obstacles will quickly surface. Those obstacles will always be there but they might just be sitting in the background lurking and you don’t know about them and then it’s too late and they have messed everything up.
The way I look at it, if I make a swift decision the obstacles might surface because of my decision but I can handle it because I know I am moving forward and I have momentum. We will deal with it now. I feel things start to take shape, things happen, opportunities come up, obstacles show themselves a whole lot more quickly when you are always making decisions.
The perfect solution is really never going to happen and usually when we are looking for the perfect solution by sitting on our thoughts and analyzing for a long time, we probably overcomplicate things. That’s another thing I do. I try not to overcomplicate things by thinking about things for too long. I could analyze until the cows come home.
What is that saying anyway? That’s my mom’s saying, “until the cows come home.”
I could overanalyze forever and that’s why I don’t let myself go there. I make decisions swiftly and it really does make a difference. You will be amazed how strong your decision-making muscle can get and how quickly that can happen when you make it a habit.
The next time you hear yourself saying you are going to think about something or if you tell your team you haven’t made a decision but you will get back to them, stop for a minute and ask if you could just make a decision right now. Do you have the information you need? Do you have enough information? You will never have all of the information, but do you have enough to make the decision to keep your team moving forward, to keep the momentum and movement, and to keep taking action so you can get results? It’s a really small thing but it makes a huge difference.
Strategy #5: Create an Offer Your Audience Cannot Refuse
The next strategy for working smarter also has to do with creating online programs and products. Specifically, it’s about selling. The tip is to create an offer that your audience absolutely cannot refuse. This tip actually came from a different book than Rework. It is from a book called Getting Everything You Can Out of All You’ve Got from Jay Abraham.
I think it is a really good book. It doesn’t just apply to an online business. So, for those of you listening that have a brick and mortar or a physical product or an online business, I think it’s a really valuable book. It’s all about strategy and the way you think about your business.
Inside this book, there’s a great story. I actually want to read it. It is really short but it’s good:
“A farmer wanted to buy a pony for his little daughter. There were two for sale in his town. Both ponies were equal in all aspects. The first man told the farmer he wanted $500 for his pony, take it or leave it. The second man was selling his pony for $750. But the second man told the farmer he wanted the farmer’s daughter to try out the pony for a month before the farmer had to make any purchasing decision. He offered to bring the pony out to the farmer’s home along with a month’s worth of hay to feed the pony. He said he would send out his own stablemen once a week to show the little girl how to groom and care for the pony. He told the farmer the pony was kind and gentle but to have his daughter ride the pony each day to make certain they got along together. Finally, he said, at the end of 30 days he would drive to the farmer’s and either take back the pony and clean up the stall or ask then to be paid $750. Which pony do you suppose the farmer decided to purchase for his daughter?”
That’s a great story. It’s really simplified. However, think about your offers. I want you to start to consider how to make them so good that your audience cannot refuse them.
I’ve got some simple ways to do that and one of the ways is to offer more of you. Let’s talk about that first because this is really difficult for me to do as my business has grown. I have a tip for those listening that are just starting out in the first two years of your business. If you are just starting out I want you to think about adding more of you if that bandwidth is there.
Some internet marketers may not agree with this and think, “as much as you can automate the better, take yourself out of the mix and let your business run without you.” For some people that is really good. But I do believe many of us, including myself, will really make an impact if we can infuse more of ourselves into what we do.
We already talked about infusing your style and making things unique in your product so that only you can sell and create the way you do. But in this instance, I’m talking about adding some touch points to what you are already doing and already selling so that people get to actually interact with you. If you are just starting out this is easier.
When I used to sell the Profit Lab I had 30 people in the program. All 30 people actually got to get on Skype with me one on one a few times and get some one-on- one coaching about their programs. If you know Donna Mortiz from Social Sorted, she was in my very first Profit Lab and I remember like it was yesterday, she was just building her business and wasn’t exactly sure the direction she wanted to go.
We jumped on Skype. She is in Australia and I got to know her more. I got to help her. Now we are great friends. She just promoted Webinars That Convert and did amazingly well in terms of the impact she was able to make with her own list with my program. She is a top affiliate. She did fantastic. So it is really cool the relationships you will build if you start now when your business is smaller.
Again, I offered that and that is why my program sold so well even though I didn’t have a big list yet. I was promising interaction with me. These days, because my business has grown, I still do this but have to be really careful of it and I do private Facebook groups.
Right now, my Webinars That Convert private Facebook group has over 1,500 people in it. But the great thing about that is I still jump in daily. My team helps. I still make videos for people, and I really try to make a big presence in there. I tell myself if I can do an hour a day I am still really giving back.
I have to set expectations and say that when you purchase my program I will jump in daily. But I’m not the only person that’s going to answer all of your questions. I want people to know before they jump in that it’s not all one on one with me. It is important to set those expectations.
My point is that if you have the bandwidth right now to offer some one-on-one support or some personal calls with people or if you can offer them email access, if your list is still small enough and you email people and say, “you can reply back to this email and I will write you back,” those are the relationships that you keep for life.
There is a reason why Donna and I are so very close to this day. It started because I got to be one on one with her and answer questions and be a support to her and then stay in touch with her that way. I just want you to not miss out on this opportunity if it’s there for you and you can jump on it now before your business gets really big, go for it.
As your business grows you can find different ways to make sure you have a connection. Another thing I do is a special bonus for B-School, Marie Forleo’s program. I am a big supporter of it and in February I am going to start promoting B-School again. We do it once a year. For those who buy B-School through me, I offer a live event. You can come to San Diego, get in the hot seat, and meet other people going through the program.
Even though my business has grown, offering live events with a one-on-one interaction in a real-live setting is another way to be really powerful. There are other ways to do it when you grow. Remember, this strategy I’m teaching you right now is to create an offer they can’t refuse. That means you also want to make sure you create something where people feel there is not a lot of risk.
One way to do that is with a refund policy. I get questions about refund policies a lot. People ask if they should offer a refund policy, should it be 30 or 60 days. In the book by Jay Abraham, he talks about 60 days being really powerful in terms of comparing it to 30 days. He saw a huge upswing in the amount of people who took him up on the offer just by changing it from 30 to 60 days. That’s just something to think about.
When I have a $97 program, I also make the refund policy really easy. I want my $97 programs to be no brainers, an instant “yes.” Making it a 30-day no-questions-asked money-back guarantee or a 60-day non-questions-asked money-back guarantee is great for a $97 program or a $197 programs.
But I will say I have kind of changed my tune around refund policies. As I have gotten better at creating programs and have really nailed down my content and I know I am getting people really big results, I have tightened up my refund policy. This is something you might want to think about as your business grows.
Before I always did a 30 or 60-day money-back guarantee with no questions asked. When I came out with my webinars program I knew I had nailed it. I knew this program would get people big results. I knew I had put it together in a way that was really solid. There is a beginning, middle, and end to the entire system I teach. If you follow it you will get results.
What I did is offer a 60-day money-back guarantee. But I had a lot of stipulations to it. You basically had to go through the entire program. You had to create a slide deck and run Facebook ads. You had to post on social media. You had to do your webinar live, you had to record it, and you had to sell something on it. When you did all of that and still didn’t generate the money you wanted to generate, I will give you a refund. But you have to show me your work.
I was very nervous to do this because a lot of people won’t buy because of that. But then I thought that I want to attract the A game. I want to attract people that say, “Bring it on, Amy. Give me that challenge.” When they do the work and are really committed to it they are going to get results. I have no doubt.
Because of that, I felt really good to make a very iron-clad refund policy. Yes, I will give you your money back. But you’ve got to do all of the work and prove me wrong. If they prove me wrong then, by all means. But this has proven to be really amazing for my team and our mindset around the program as well as really pushing my students to go do the work.
Part of the challenge of running an online business where you sell online training programs is that people have to do the work to get results. That is a challenge sometimes. Getting people through my programs, like I talked to you about the Profit Lab, turned out to be a really big challenge. I had to uncover the reasons why.
Even with the webinars course, I know there are some people who have opened it up, gone through a few lessons, and thought, “Oh man, I actually have to do the work to get results? This ain’t for me.”
I understand people are busy, they get sidetracked, they chase the next shiny thing. So, my point for you is that it is hard enough to get people to go through the program completely. The one thing you want to do is make sure you attract the right kind of people. Sometimes, with a really solid refund policy, even though I’m talking about making an offer they can’t refuse, I don’t think it’s always just an easy refund policy. That way there is no risk whatsoever. You have to be really careful about the people you are attracting. I don’t want the tire kickers.
This lesson I am giving you about giving them an offer they can’t refuse has a caveat that I don’t think it’s always with the refund policy. I will say that the private Facebook groups and the one-on-one calls with you and the ability to email you with questions and the live events, the personal touch points, are what is missing in so many programs today. So, if you offer it, you will be unique and will make them an offer where they feel really supported.
To me, making an offer they can’t refuse must involve some kind of really amazing support in case they get stuck. They need to know what’s going to happen. That is the #1 question I get asked when I sell my programs so I always make sure I have an answer to that one.
One more thing I want to add to this, if you are selling high-end programs, especially through webinars (a lot of my students are selling $2,000 coaching programs through webinars), I have noticed (and so many of my students have reported) that in order to make an offer they can’t refuse they might need to have a touch point with you before they buy.
I don’t do this with products below $1,000 (and I don’t have products that cost over $1,000); however, if I sold products over $1,000 I would make sure to say on my webinar that if someone wants a 15-minute one-on-one call with me to make sure they are right for the program then they can sign up on my calendar. I would answer every email that people sent during my promotion about the program and they would hear directly from me.
I get a lot of emails every day and I can’t possibly answer all of them. I promote B- School, in February. It is a $2,000 program. So, during B-School, because I know it’s a high-end program and there needs to be a touch point before some people buy, I tell my team that every email about B-School has to come to me whether it is asking if they are right for the program or telling me what they are worried about. I answer every single one of them because if anyone buys B-School through my link I want to make sure they are really a good fit for the program. That is when you have to go the extra mile, when the price goes up.
Again, not everyone would agree with me that when it is more expensive there need to be more touch points. So many of my students inside my webinar program have reported that when I started answering questions during the promo period before people buy, my sales skyrocketed. Think about those touch points in the promo period and then the touch points after people buy if you want to make them an offer they can’t refuse.
Strategy #6: Selling Your Byproduct as an Upsell or Downsell
This strategy is again from Rework but is also in the book Getting Everything You Can Out of All You’ve Got. They both talk about selling your byproducts (an upsell or downsell). I wanted to add this to the list about working smarter in 2016 and beyond because I believe if you offer an upsell or downsell (we will talk about what that is in a moment) you can work less. You don’t have to work as many hours or put as much effort into selling and making your revenue goals because downsells or upsells cushion everything. It is icing on the cake so that you are not killing yourself trying to meet the big goals you have set.
If you have not listened to it yet, I want you to listen to Episode #78 (http:// www.amyporterfield.com/78). It is basically an entire episode of how I made over
$100,000 selling an upsell to my webinars program. If you already listened to it, awesome, you are set and you know what it’s all about. If you haven’t you have to check it out.
Inside the book that Jay Abraham wrote, he reported 60% of people take you up on your upsell when you do it right. That’s exactly the kind of results we have seen. Sixty percent of those who are buying my webinars program are taking me up on either a $300 or $150 upsell offer. That’s just adding to their purchase and that’s pretty cool, right?
I believe upsells and downsells are a way to work smarter in 2016 and beyond. When you can figure out another thing to offer in addition to your online training program and offer it in that moment when they buy your online training program, it’s like icing on the cake. If you want to reach your goals a whole lot more quickly in the New Year then upsells and downsells are the way to do it if you are selling online training programs.
I have never done an upsell until this year and I have been in business since 2010. Shame on me, right? I knew they were powerful. I have seen my friends do them and I never figured it out. One of the reasons I didn’t figure it out, sometimes it is a little tricky in terms of what to sell as an upsell or downsell.
Just to make sure we are on the same page, let me back up a little bit. Basically, an upsell or downsell works like this: You have an online training program you are selling. Someone buys it. They literally put in their information and they have now purchased the program. In that moment they usually see a new web page that says, “You are enrolled and I have one more special offer you might want to take me up on.”
The offer somehow relates to what you just sold them. I talk all about this in Episode #78. A downsell, which I have actually never done, is used when a person did not buy the program but I can offer something that is a light version of what I was trying to sell. Sometimes you can do a downsell after an upsell. It gets a little complicated but it is all in Episode #78.
This is so important because when I was reading the book by Jay Abraham, he was saying that, when an upsell is done right, on average 60% of the people that just bought the online training program or product will take you up on an upsell. Those are the type of numbers we saw. Sixty percent of the people that bought the webinars course wanted to buy my upsell.
When you really figure out what it is to offer them, it is a golden formula. It’s so fantastic. So I wanted to talk a little bit about just starting to think about an upsell or downsell if you already have an online training program. Or, the best time to think about it is as you build the outline for your paid program. I want you to build out the entire outline and then I want you to ask yourself what is something you can add to the opportunity that would completely enhance your students’ experience.
The upsell is not a necessity. It is not like you are screwing them up if you don’t include it but it’s like, “Oh my gosh, if I offered ‘this’ those people that were really serious about getting results would take me up on it in a hot minute.”
A lot of times, it is something like a do-it-for-you opportunity. For me, I offered a five- pack slide deck. I had my designer create the slide deck templates for them so they could just drop in their content. That saved them hours plus tons of money to hire designers to do slide decks. It was more of a do-it-for-you experience. But I just did it once so that I could sell it to the masses. I did five different opportunities for them so that they had some choices.
You could also do something like offer one more opportunity for a one-on-one with you. If they buy a program and have already bought it you could offer more one-on- one attention. If they feel like they could really find value by being coached through the program and if they want to get on the phone with you, you could offer five spots for one-on-one coaching as they go through the program.
This could be big. It could be $2,000 more so it would not be for everybody. It will only be for five people and you won’t have a lot of opportunity. That could be an idea for an upsell. There are so many options for this. But I will say that I am just kicking myself for waiting so long to add it to my programs. And, when I know it enhances my students’ experience and gets me to my goals a whole lot quicker. It’s a win-win.
Working smarter means considering upsells and downsells as you create your online training programs. Check out Episode #78 if you like this idea.
Strategy #7: Making Sure Your Work Really Matters
We are back to the book Rework, which is where I got this from. I want to ask you some questions. A lot of my students are struggling with really making sure they are offering something their audience truly needs and wants. They think they have nailed it but when they start to sell it something is a little bit off or they aren’t selling as many as they thought they should be selling, based on the amount of people they are able to reach (their conversions are really low).
Sometimes that has to do with selling and the foundation you have built around your promotion. But a lot of the time, more often than not, my students are missing the mark with offering something their students really need and want and understand how important it is that they actually take you up on the offer.
In addition to that, a lot of my students are creating businesses where they just don’t love the experience. Sometimes they even think about going back to corporate. The reason for that is that they feel it isn’t coming together as quickly as they thought. It is a huge struggle. They have no security and their husband or wife doesn’t even believe in what they are creating because they don’t understand it can be a legit business.
All of these things are coming your way and you are wondering if you are doing the right thing. But, to stay on course for this episode, I want to ask you a few questions around making sure you are doing the work that matters, it matters to you, and it matters to your audience.
Why are you doing this?
We could look at the big picture question of why you are creating your business. Or, you could make it even more specific and ask why you are creating an online training program. I want you to think about who it’s for, who benefits, and the motivation. These are some things I want you to start thinking about so that you make sure you are working on the stuff that you really want to be working on.
What problem are you solving?
I have to read you something because this one is a biggie. A lot of times we think we are solving one problem but maybe we have gotten off course just a little bit. Let me read you a little paragraph from the book:
“What problem are you solving? What’s the problem? Are customers confused? Are you confused? Is something not clear enough? Was something not possible before that should be possible now? Sometimes when we ask these questions you will find you are solving an imaginary problem. That’s when it’s time to stop and reevaluate what the hell you are doing.”
That was from the book, not from me! Sometimes we think we are solving a problem but when we really dig down to see if it is clear and ask if our customers understand what we are solving, whether we really understand what we are solving, and ask it is a very real problem, whether our customers are telling me this is a problem, and when I ask whether this is the language they are using…sometimes we are totally off course.
With the Profit Lab I was solving the problem of selling more online. That was a very real problem. It wasn’t imaginary. My students want to sell more online. But, when a lot of the people got inside the program they didn’t get past the first part because they didn’t have anything to sell.
I had to realize I wanted to solve the problem of selling, which is why I created the webinars course, but I had a problem I didn’t even see before. That problem is that my audience needs a list. They need to find their tribe. They need to grow an email list of quality people. When they do that they will get really clear on what they should sell.
In the program I teach people how to really understand what your avatar needs. If you already have a list it is really easy to start talking to them and engaging with them and getting very clear in terms of what they want to sell. I am learning this stuff as well.
You all know that when I teach something it’s because I need to learn it or really drill it down into my thick skull sometimes. I can relate to these questions too so don’t beat yourself up if you’re feeling like you aren’t solving the right problem. Just fix it. Really evaluate.
Is this actually useful?
It is easy to confuse enthusiasm and usefulness. We get really excited about our ideas and what we are creating and we are so excited that we kind of lose sight sometimes. Make sure that whatever you are creating in terms of big picture (like your business or a specific project, program, or service) it is incredibly useful.
Are you adding value?
In the book, I love what they said. They said value is about balance. This is so good. I never looked at it this way and I love this. Adding too little value will leave your audience confused. Adding too much value will just be overkill. The example they use in the book is “too much ketchup ruins your French fries.” That is a good point.
It comes back to being a curator. When you put too much value in a program you are going to totally overwhelm your audience. That is usually the problem. It isn’t that you aren’t adding enough value, you are adding too much value. It is very endearing that we care that much, but we need to be kind to ourselves. We do it for a good reason but it happens a lot.
When I was with Tony Robbins one of the questions we asked inside our content development department is, “Does the customer care?” Sometimes we add things to our program and forget we are really passionate about it; but, does the customer really care? Or, if you add a bell and a whistle to your program (something really cool), does the customer really care or do you just think it is really cool? That is when building an email list lets you engage with them and know whether they really care.
Will this change behavior?
You have to make an impact and if a behavior will not be changed or enhanced you need to rethink what you are doing. When I create my programs now, I definitely start to think and I infuse a little mindset and inspiration in the way I think about being an entrepreneur and run my business. If my audience not only understands the strategy of list building but also the mindset around it, they are more likely to want to change the behavior.
I did two full episodes about list building, 1) the mindset around list building, and 2) the strategies around list building. I did those episodes because I realized that not only does my audience need to know how to build a list, but they also need to have a mindset around list building to know why it’s important that it has to be priority on their list and stop pushing it to the back of their priorities. Again, to change a behavior, it’s not just about giving a bunch of how-to strategies, it’s about mindset as well.
Is there an easier way?
Remember, pursue simple and get fancy later. In my world, I don’t ever even get fancy. I say to get fancy later because of all of my creatives out there that are chomping at the bit to get creative. It will come. But first you have to get really simple…pursue simplicity. If there is an easier way to do something in your business, find it now because you will work smarter in the New Year.
What could you be doing instead?
This is where you need to be looking at your team and your resources. If you are working on one thing, what else is not getting done? Are you making decisions everyday that are moving you toward your goals or are you sitting on a bunch of decisions you need to make, working on things that aren’t really moving the needle, and probably slowing down momentum on your team?
Make decisions swiftly and when you do that you will be able to uncover what you probably should be working on and what might be wasting time. When you start to make decisions swiftly you will be amazed at what surfaces and what realizations are going to be totally unveiled to you because you are moving forward. It is kind of amazing.
Is it really worth it?
This is a question you can apply to so much of what you are doing in your business. Is it worth the money? Is it worth your time? Is it worth adding the stress to your team? Sometimes it is.
When I create my online training programs and we are getting ready to promote, that is a very stressful time on the team. A lot of my team kind of blocks out a whole two weeks and they know nothing is really happening in their personal life for two weeks because we are focused on a launch.
After the launch I encourage them to go have a life. But it’s going to be a stressful time. Yes, I think that’s worth it. I think we are making an impact in this world with the promos we do and the programs we sell. But you have to ask yourself whether it is worth the stress or worth the money or worth the time. Is it worth taking your attention off another project? Is it worth it to your clients? Is it really worth it?
In my own business, I want to get in the habit (and you can steal this from me if you aren’t doing it already) of asking myself whether it is worth it. If I say, “Heck yes, it’s worth it,” then it is all systems go. We will be green lights all the way and we will do it.
But, if I ask myself if something is worth it and I say, “Not really,” then I have to stop it now. We were talking about speaking gigs. I don’t do a lot of speaking gigs. But, when I do I really want to make sure they are a “heck yes,” and I totally want to go for an amazing audience. There is one on the docket that I can’t talk about just yet but it is on the docket for 2016 and it is a “heck yes!” I can’t even wait for it and I don’t even love to speak on stage but I can’t wait for this one.
There was another one that came in that we were almost going to do because they were going to pay me a whole lot to do it; but, then I started seeing some of the communications and I thought, “I don’t like the vibe around this one. It isn’t right for me. I don’t know…” If I went I would only be doing it for the money and that is a “heck no.”
You can say “hell yes,” I don’t know why I am being so PC but it is a “hell yes” or a “hell no” but definitely make it really clear in terms of whether it is really worth it.
There you have it, I hope you found these seven ways of working smarter really valuable for your own business and I hope you apply them as you build and grow your business into this new year and beyond.
Don’t forget, I’ve included some links in the show notes, things I think you will find really valuable. So go check out the show notes at http:/www.amyporterfield.com/ 90 so you can get the links to the books I mentioned and some of the past episodes I mentioned and a few other goodies I might not have mentioned yet. You will find them over at the show notes.
Before we do our final word from our sponsor, I want to tell you this: It means the world to me that you tune in and listen to my show and apply the strategies and take me on this journey with you as you build your business. There is not one day I take that lightly and I really do appreciate you letting me go on this journey with you.
I feel so blessed to be able to do the work I love. And I know I couldn’t do this without your support. Because we are wrapping up the year, I want to tell you that you mean the world to me. The fact that you tune in and take me along with you to the gym, the subway, in the car with your kids (people write me and say their kids know my voice well because they constantly listen to me) and I absolutely love to hear those things.
I feel very lucky that I get to be a little tiny part in your business, especially if you are taking these lessons I put together and really apply them to what you are doing. Thank you so very much. I mean it when I say it, I feel very lucky to be able to do the work I do and I know it’s because of your support. Good luck in all you do. If you’re listening to this as we go into the New Year, let’s make this the most amazing year you’ve ever created with wild success and even more happiness. I wish you nothing but happiness in the New Year.
If you are listening to this well into the New Year or beyond, I hope you are making it the best year ever. Thanks, again. Before we wrap up, a final word about our sponsor. Finally, I want to thank our sponsor, 99Designs. You know when you market online it is really difficult to stand out from all of that online noise clutter. How do you do it? I think you do it through impeccable branding. That includes your logo, your social media cover images, your website, and everything in between. At 99Designs you can get anything designed in just a week for a startup-friendly price.
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That’s a wrap. Again, thank you for tuning in. I can’t wait to connect with you in the New Year. Bye for now.