6 Insights To Scale Your Expertise To 7 Figures | SWW133
I’ve been asked, on more than one occasion, how I was able to scale my high-ticket programs to 7-figures.
Some business owners get stuck doing done-for-you services, or group coaching, or courses, and can’t figure out how to grow beyond the $30-50k/month mark.
I know because I was one of them. I’ve been through multiple iterations of trying to scale to 7 figures.
And I’ve made several mistakes along the way – even to the point of almost going bankrupt (find out why at 06:20.)
In this episode, I share 6 insights from my own journey scaling to 7-figures. And I hope they’ll help you with yours.
When you try to scale - never, ever assume this about your audience [01:00]
How to scale by exploring the gap between DFY and DIY [02:40]
The time I almost went bankrupt because I wasn’t as good as I thought I was [06:20]
Your invisible safety net when scaling to 7 figures - I’ve doubled down on this in 2020 with amazing results [08:00]
Why it’s OK to go slow and the benefits of doing so - most business coaches will not tell you this [09:50]
… And much more!
Hey, what’s going on? Welcome to another very special episode of sold with webinars. Hey, it’s Joel here and I am super excited about today’s episode. Now I have received quite a lot of feedback over the past month or so about how I have scaled my agency to be focused more around, not more around, but also include other elements of education, like coaching programs and do it yourself courses. And so what I wanted to do on today’s episode is I wanted to talk about, you know, really six things that you need to know about scaling to seven figures with online coaching programs and online courses. Now I have six of these important elements highlighted. Some are more important than others, but I figured I’d share this with you because it might help you avoid some of the pitfalls that I have run into.
So let’s start out with the first one. And the first one is that scaling my agency with courses and education proved way harder than I initially thought. So many of us who were in the service industry, whether you’re an agency, whether you’re an accountant, et cetera, think, Oh, I can just teach my clients to do it themselves and never ever assume this. Because when I tried to scale the webinar agency, the first thing that I did was I packaged all my systems and procedures out and put it into a do it yourself program. I drove traffic to a sales webinar, and I tried to sell that to a cold audience. Did we sell some copies? Yes we did, but it was completely unscalable to cold traffic, even though we sold five figures of it to warm traffic, but that’s not really what I wanted.
I wanted to go to cold traffic. The main reason I found was that my target audience didn’t want to learn how to do webinars themselves. Now, when I pivoted my audience target to teach others how to create million dollar webinars teaching nearly the exact same thing, the response changed drastically. So the lesson here is that you may have a different audience as you scale than you initially thought. And just a little bonus lesson is that I believe had I stuck with this program, my audience would have bought more frequently and at a higher price point, if I package this offer into a rapid implementation workshop, which we will talk about a little bit later on. Number two, test various leveraged offers while you’re trying to completely productize. Now, I realized now that I tried to productize and scale the webinar agency way too quickly, and in the wrong order, I made the big mistake of jumping from full agency services straight to selling a do it yourself course.
And I paid a big price. What I discovered a couple of years later is that there are plenty of other ways to transition to services, transition from services, excuse me, and one-on-one to more leveraged offers before completely productizing. In 2017, I launched my first three-day in-person workshop and each ticket was $5,000. It included zero implementation on my part, and I had some of the best customer experience reviews, and it was completely leveraged. We also started promoting paid strategy only services at $5,000 a piece. So going back to the in-person workshop, we sold 12 seats in my first event. So we netted $60,000 upfront. And a few of those attendees purchased by agency services afterwards. Now then we started promoting paid strategy only services at $5,000 a piece each where we would develop a plan for our clients and they would execute.
Okay. It would only take us about a week to fulfill this, which is about six weeks shorter than a full done for you build. They also received mostly positive feedback from the customer experience. And those are really just two examples of leveraged offers that I wish I’d implemented sooner. As I continued to iron out the bottom do it yourself tier of my perfect expert course business model. Now the core lesson here that I learned is that there are always other things that your audience is willing to buy as long as they are interested in your core promise. My core promise was the same across all of those offers. They just didn’t necessarily want to do done for you. So I figured out other ways that I could help them in the meantime. Okay. So the third thing that you want to understand is that sales is way different than marketing.
Now, this could very easily be the most important lesson because of the significance, but maybe I’m just dumber than a box of rocks. But for the longest time, I believed that I had to market market market before it could make an offer to my audience. And I can’t tell you how many different funnels I built for my businesses. 95% of them being lead magnets or educational based marketing funnels. Yes, this even includes traditional webinars. As a result, I was left exhausted, overwhelmed, and confused. It wasn’t until reading the ultimate sales machine by Chet Holmes that I realized there’s a certain percentage of people in my market who are ready to buy right now and pairing that with Robert Bly’s book, How to create irresistible offers, that the cheapest way to acquire a customer is with primarily offer driven content. So then I put two and two together and wonder, can I just make an offer to people who’ve never heard of me before?
And will they actually buy? Yes, you can. And yes, they will buy. As long as the promise is relevant, enticing, and different. I call these power offers and perfecting the power offer has allowed me to rapidly test many different types of offers in my course business model. So I can see what hits and what doesn’t. Since that day, I realized this I’ve never gone hungry for leads ever. So the main lesson here is that no amount of marketing can compensate for a bad offer. Okay. So lesson number four, high ticket buyers are usually better to work with, but you need to make sure that you deliver or you’ll set yourself up for what I call tower of terror level pressure. There are plenty of pros with attracting high ticket buyers for your courses, programs, and services. Usually people who pay more are easier to work with.
It gives you more cash leverage, which is important for scale. You need fewer clients to hit lifestyle worthy goals and your clients typically get better results. However, just because you can charge a premium for something doesn’t necessarily mean that you should at least not until you can prove your value. So in 2017, 2018, I paid $10,000 per month to be part of a mastermind to help me grow and scale my business. And when I went to that first meeting, I was completely embarrassed in front of everyone by what the leader had said. And he told me flat out, you’re not as good as you say you are Joel, not even close. And needless to say he was right. At the time we enrolled a handful of new clients in our fulfillment, wasn’t nearly as dialed in as it is now. We experienced major fulfillment issues and ended up needing to refund about $50,000 in cash, which at the time nearly bankrupted me considering I still had to pay my team.
So after that I went into a month and a half long depression. There were days that I didn’t get out of bed. I felt the world had crashed down on me. I had no idea how I was going to provide for my family. And I couldn’t see more than six inches in front of me. I felt I was a complete and utter failure. And to this day, it’s the worst that I’ve ever felt at any point in my life. Coming out of that depression, I made a vow that I wasn’t going to just raise my prices because I could, everything needs to be justified, which is why having a two to three tiered model for your courses where you can direct your clients to get your core promise based on the best fit for both you and them is the ultimate goal. Now, this requires a combination of both being able to clearly explain the value of your promise and deliver market-leading results.
So you never have the pressure of needing to refund a bunch of unhappy clients. I have students who purchased my do it yourself version of high ticket courses that have done hundreds of thousands of dollars. Even people in my free group have done it without buying anything from me. Okay. So the lesson learned here is that money can absolutely be a goal of yours, but don’t let greed lead you to chase it. Okay. Always level up your fulfillment game. Okay. Lesson number five, direct response is critical, but brand driven awareness will be your invisible safety net. Now, I haven’t talked much about this, but I’m planning to talk more about it in the future. The longer you stay in this game, the more people are going to talk about you and Google you. In my world many people know me as the webinar guy or the power offer guy, which is totally fine.
And that comes with a correlation of direct response marketing. Now over the past year or so, I’ve had probably equally as much business from my brand driven marketing, which are podcasts like this one, email, Facebook groups, et cetera, as I have from our paid, maybe even more so. It’s difficult to track, but it’s very easy to get caught up in only doing one or the other. Focus only on brand driven marketing activities and you fall victim to putting out tons of content. Maybe you’ll get tons of followers, but you’ll likely burn out from the inconsistent results. Focus only on direct response marketing And you’re going to sweat over the natural fluctuations of paid ads, which can cause unnecessary stress. The magic pill is to make sure that you’re doing both, but only after you’ve validated your offer. When you get some traction first with paid ads and validate your offer, start to future proof your business by making sure you have an invisible referral machine coming into your pipeline.
If you do this correctly, your competitors refer business to you. Top podcasters and influencers are begging for you to be on their show. And they’re even asking you for consultations. This is exactly what happened to me when I was approached by Anik Singal, Mike Dillard, and Roland Frasier among many others that I haven’t even named. All of which I’ve now been on their shows and offered advice to, for which I’m greatly honored and greatly humbled. The key lesson here is that you want to start with direct response offers to get cash in the bank and then focus on building your brand driven awareness and build an invisible safety net. Number six, it’s okay to go slow and it’s okay to bounce around. The direct response marketer in me is cringing hit this one, but it makes me happy just talking about it, right. After my month long depression in early 2018, we’ve made a radical turnaround.
No, I’m not going to be able to boast about personally making $10 million in five months, even though one of my clients did, but I can tell you that month after month, we put cash in our bank account, growing that to nearly seven figures in liquid cash in our business account at its peak. And to be honest, I’m a bit nervous sharing that publicly, right? But I decided to share that with you because I truly believe there is no right or wrong way to grow as long as you were learning from your mistakes and failures. So you want to listen to that and you want to understand that as a failing forward. that type of consistent growth has allowed me to live my semi-retired lifestyle, working no more than four hours a day, four days a week, for the last 14 months. I get to spend three to four weeks each spring at the beach in St. Augustine.
I get to test all sorts of new offers because that’s what I like to do most in business, including trying to prove myself wrong with low ticket offers. I get to hire new team members who improve the quality of our programs and develop my leadership skills. I get to hire personal development and non-business coaches to expand my normal. And I get to podcast more often, which is my second favorite business activity. Now I’m not here to say that you should follow me exactly. I’m your typical ADHD entrepreneur. And I’m an eight on the quick start on the Colby index, right? I’m all over the place. But I did commit and follow through on a few core principles. Principle number one, making the best product I can possibly create. And this is literally going to solve almost all of your demand issues from referrals alone if you give it enough time.
Principle number two, grow a tribe centered around the idea of semi-retired lifestyle. Principle number three, always be ready and able to pivot when offers aren’t performing. And principle number four, develop my personal leadership skills. Those my core principles that I follow through on. Now that might not be your path to success, and you might not want it to be. You may be more structured and more planning focused. Just know that if you do bounce around, it’s okay as long as you’re keeping momentum moving forward. So the lesson here is test as long as you keep moving forward. I hope you enjoyed this episode. I love talking about this stuff. This one, I got a little bit more vulnerable and a little bit more exposed than I normally do, but it’s important. I think you should really understand my journey and my path because it’s not always sunshine and rainbows as much as some of these gurus want you to think that it is. Now, if you enjoyed this episode, go ahead,. Shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. I would love to hear from you. I love hearing from my listeners. I love hearing from my audience and let me know what you think. Until next time. I’ll see you on the next episode. Take care.