Coming up with the right offer in the online business world can be tough – it needs to match your skill set, give solid results and relieve the fears or challenges that your ideal clients are facing. And if you’re anything like me the real struggle is deciding which of your many ideas you should actually put out into the world. As entrepreneurs, and especially creative entrepreneurs, we seem to have no shortage of awesome ideas.
Or at least, ideas that we think are awesome but our audience might tell us otherwise.
So, How Do You Come Up With The Right Offer?
In the spring of 2015 I was still a bit of a business newbie. After playing around with freelance work in 2013 and 2014, I was really trying to make the online business model work for me and had taken on the title of “Writing Coach.”
I was trying to figure out what to offer my clients: I had the standard single 90-minute session and the 3-month program, neither of which were flying off the shelves. In the first quarter of 2015 my total revenue was a depressing $3295. (That’s in Canadian dollars, which, if you’re not familiar with the exchange rate, makes it a lot worse.)
But I had faith in my work and my ability to be of service to other entrepreneurs, and I knew that I would have to PAY ATTENTION if I wanted to start bringing in more customers.
So hanging out on Facebook became my thing and it didn’t take long for me to find entrepreneurs complaining about content creation. What I saw over and over again was that these potential clients had three big struggles:
- Finding the time to write
- Getting stuck with writer’s block
- Feeling insecure about the content they did write
And those were perfect problems for me to solve! In fact, I knew I could solve all three at one time if I created a focused opportunity for them to write, shared my signature writing process (the same one I use everytime I write) and gave them expert feedback on their work.
And so Write Joyfully, a full-day live online workshop for female entrepreneurs, was created.
How To Make Money With A Great Offer (When You’ve Got a Complicated Money Story)
I initially launched Write Joyfully at a ridiculously low price: $50 for a 6-hour, 10-person workshop. Why? Because I was so nervous it would be a flop. I didn’t feel like I had given the market a reason to trust me yet and my imposter syndrome was calling the shots. Of course (or thankfully!) the workshop sold out in just a couple weeks, as did the one the next month.
Even though I wasn’t making much money off each workshop, I felt that amazing feeling we all call “success.” I was getting great feedback on my writing process and clients loved getting my feedback on their work. The buzz started. My workshops were being talked about in Facebook groups and the spots filled mostly through word of mouth each month.
It was clear that listening to my audience and creating an offer that fixed their problems while using my greatest talents had been the “secret sauce” my business needed. (Note: This is not an actual “secret sauce” but rather the smart way to run a business.)
So at this point I had a group of women who had taken the workshop, loved it and wanted more. I decided to created a 3-month program for a small group of women and I was able to launch it quietly and almost exclusively to my Write Joyfully alumni. That was in June 2015 and I brought in $9000 in sales. (American dollars this time!)
Since then I have increased the price and value of the workshop while decreasing my time investment. I have added a pre-planning workbook and follow up resources as well as a private Facebook group for alumni to share their written work and build relationships. This group of women have become the all-stars of my business. I go to them for suggestions related to new offers and my growth, and offer them free workshops and other reflections of my gratitude.
Overall the workshop has built my brand, my reputation and my business into what it is today. I’m still nowhere close to six figures but I have consistent sales and sell out the workshop each month, mostly through word of mouth advertising.
In 2015, 47 women took my Write Joyfully workshop adding $4978 to my revenue for the year, with many participants repeating the workshop (it’s always easier to make a sale to an existing client than find a new one). Many of the participants also became 1:1 clients adding even more to my overall revenue. With my planned price increases I expect my Write Joyfully sales for the first half of 2016 to be over $6000.
And Now Let’s Talk LEVERAGE
Right from the beginning, I had coaches and peers telling me to LEVERAGE the workshop: take out the 1:1 editing time so I could open it up to more people, and/or turn it into a product and take myself out of the equation altogether. So many people had an opinion, all thinking I wasn’t doing enough with this obvious “home-run” of an offer.
But I waited. I waited. I waited.
I knew that eventually the right way to leverage the workshop would come to me and that I didn’t have to force it just to go after more money. Now, almost a year since I ran the first round, I am preparing to launch the DIY version as a passive income product. Now I know the process well enough. Now I know what my clients need. Now I know how to create materials that can truly help people even when I’m not there.
I think that too often in the online business world entrepreneurs forget that their people – followers, subscribers and clients – are a wealth of information and if we pay attention, they can show us the path to our greatest success. And the success we create when we listen carefully to the market is a success that is sustainable and serves everyone involved – our clients achieve their goals and our business grows. Whether you’re creating a digital product, physical product or a service, focusing on solving the problems your ideal clients face will have you creating offers that sell successfully.
Parrish Wilson is a Writing Coach, Editor and Speaker for female entrepreneurs who are committed to sharing their message and inspiring change in others through the written word. Her natural talent for guiding her clients to uncover their personal writing voice and craft pieces that connect heart-to-heart with their readers has turned Parrish into a leader in her field. You can learn more about her and Write Joyfully at parrishwilson.com.