Hey rebels, I wanted to get real with you today and talk about something that has been bugging me for ages: online course addiction. Taking course after course is a recipe for getting stuck in your business.
So today I am breaking down four stages in your business and what exactly you should be focused on and investing in during that stage of your business.
Tune into the audio:
Now I am not anti course by any stretch of the imagination. Courses can be absolutely amazing for learning a new skill or software or even just getting basic information on how to do or create something.
What I am against is people spending thousands upon thousands of dollars, they buy course after course that they most likely don't finish because sometimes those courses are not very good and feel like an information dump.
More importantly, they don't solve your problem because even though that course may have promised you the magical fix for your business, it still might not work for you because you've invested in something for your business at the wrong time in your business.
And I can't tell you how many people I've talked to during sales conversations for the 3 Word Rebellion messaging intensive who can rattle off a list of courses they've invested in, and sometimes they're investing in the same kind of course over and over again, like a business development course or an Instagram course, and they've done that DIY route. They've bought the course and they're still stuck in their business.
And the reason for that is that they didn't need the course, they needed real help.
It's great to think that you can bootstrap and DIY everything in your business. And I think that's one of the reasons people invest in courses because they feel like, I can teach this to myself and I can do it myself.
The rebel truth is that sometimes the best investment is an investment in real life.
Help from a coach, a consultant, a strategist, or even hiring an assistant.
The real question I want to dive into here is a discussion around what do you really need at each stage of growing your business. I don't think that these course creators do a good job of saying this is for you at this stage of your business.
So after being in business for seven years myself, I wish someone would have sat me down and tell me what I needed at different times in my business. Where was the wisest investment for me to make so that I wouldn't be controlled by my FOMO or scarcity or shiny marketing tactics when making an important business investment decision?
These stages that I'm going to break down for you today are based on my own experience working with hundreds of business owners and even from my own business. So here is my take on what you should think about investing in and when.
Phase number one: the startup stage
This is the stage where you need to create an offer, learn how to sell it and sort your legal shit out.
A business is not a business unless you are making money.
If you're not making any money in your business and you're not able to pay yourself and you're not turning a profit because you're investing everything back in the business, you don't really have a business.
The way to make money in a business is to have something to sell AND knowing how to sell it during the startup stage.
It's important for you to create a business model, create an offer that helps people in some sort of way. It solves a challenge for them. It does something for them. Then, figure out how to sell it and let's be real, when you are in the startup stage, now is not the time to think about creating a leveraged offer like a course or a membership site or even group coaching. Although sometimes group coaching can work during the startup stage.
You need to have an audience to create a membership site or a course. The average conversion rate for a course or a membership site is about 1% which means if you have an audience of 1000 people, you'll convert 10 people into your course or membership site. If your audience is 5,000 you'll convert 50 people. If it's 100,000 you'll convert a thousand people.
Very cool, right? So if you do not have an audience of that size, creating something, leverage doesn't really make sense.
So what makes sense at this point is creating some type of service or one on one offer or even maybe a group program and working with someone who can help you craft that offer so that you have a business model and then you can learn how to sell it and you should start selling it before you take any other next step in your business.
However, one next step you need to consider at the same time is getting your legal shit sorted out. Now, I am not a legal expert, but I know that you need to get it taken care of.
Get your business license, set up your business structure. I know most people start out as a sole prop or an LLC and after what, six years of business, my business just became an s corp this last year and you want to get your client and agreements in place.
Seriously. Take the time to set up your business properly and get your legal stuff sorted out.
You don't even have to pay a lawyer right away. In fact, I would recommend you don't pay a lawyer at this point in time because there are some seriously great templates out there. You can check out Christina Scalera, she's been a guest on the Rebel Rising Podcast and she has a business foundation package that you can buy and use in your business to start taking care of that legal stuff.
So in the startup stage, it's a good time to invest in a business sales coach and getting the legal stuff sorted.
The second stage: creating a solid foundation
So you have an offer it sells, you know it sells because you've sold it at this point in time and now is the time to get your messaging and systems in place.
The rebel truth here is that messaging and systems are key to growing your business.
Most entrepreneurs and business owners skip creating a solid foundation phase because frankly, it's not sexy and it's hard.
Your business can't grow if you don't have a message in place that resonates with your people.
Your business can't grow if you don't know how. You're different from your competitors, who you serve, what they care about, what you stand for, and what you stand against. I've been working with business owners who have been in business for 10 years and they have struggled for 10 years because they skipped this foundational piece.
They skipped over the messaging. They always thought that they would just figure it out and so they skipped this stage and honestly, courses do a shitty, shitty job of teaching you how to create a message because the deal is that messages are created with other people, not alone in isolation while listening to a webinar or workshop.
Your message is what works or doesn't work for your business 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
And the bottom line is the wrong messaging costs you money and impact, which affects your growth in the business.
Of course, if you want my help with your messaging, let's chat. We can see how you and I can work together to create a message that grows your business.
The second part of creating a solid foundation is documenting what you do and creating systems.
I know this sounds boring, I've totally resisted it my self, but it's important to start doing this now because at some point when you are in that growth acceleration phase, your going to need some help and trust me, you don't want to be like me. I made the mistake of not documenting how I do my work.
After the 3 Word Rebellion book launch, my life got crazy. I was getting a ton of client requests. I was getting a ton of podcast interviews and there was one day when I woke up and I found out that I scheduled myself for nine calls, nine I was on the phone or the computer from 7:30 in the morning till about 5:15 that night.
And after that day I knew something had to change and I realized that maybe I shouldn't be responsible for my inbox or my calendar anymore because I'm clearly not responsible enough to take care of it. So, I decided to get an assistant to help me with this. She started asking me really crazy questions like, what's your current system for handling email? Well, I open my inbox. I cry. I searched for emails from my clients. I answer those. I closed my inbox and I hope the inbox fairies take care of it. She asked me, what policies do you have in place for setting appointments? My policy apparently was set as many appointments as possible. So when my future self looks at the calendar, she wonders who was the masochist, who scheduled all of this? Oh yeah, it was me. So proceed to be on the phone till my brain slides out of my ear.
I should have had better systems and processes in place. And luckily this assistant is helping me do that and create it because it's going to make my life so much easier. It's going to free up my time for that next stage.
I highly recommend you document your work before you think you need to because your future self will thank you.
In this foundational stage, you want to work on your messaging and get that solid and create systems and start documenting how you do your work because of the third stage is the stage where everybody likes to skip to.
The third stage: the growth stage
You know you've got something that sells, you know how to sell it. You've got a message that is bringing people in and attracting them to your business. So now's the time to pour some gasoline on that fire that you have going.
So yeah, take the Instagram course, hire the pro designer to make you a fancy website. And a little side note about websites: when you're first starting out and when you're in the first and second stage, you don't need a super fancy website. You can get a Squarespace site or a nice WordPress template that looks totally professional, that doesn't cost you $10,000 but at the growth stage, this might be the right time to hire the pro designer.
Hire a PR person who can do outreach for you for podcast interviews and speaking media opportunities. You can learn all about Facebook ads because you've got all the foundations in place and now it's time to really grow and thrive.
The final stage: the scaling stage
I call this scale if you want to stage. And the first thing I would recommend to you is to read the book Company of One by Paul Jarvis to help you make the decision about what kind of business you want to create.
I know there is so much hype around creating a seven-figure or eight-figure business and it seems like, well that's the thing to do, but it doesn't have to be.
Having that kind of business might not be right for you or it might not be actually what you want. So scaling for scaling's sake can feel rather soulless and it can also cause you to create a business that you hate.
So figure out what your rights sized business is and scale to that. You don't always have to be on the treadmill of perpetual growth.
And if you want to be on that treadmill, go forth and be on that treadmill and grow your business. If that is what drives you, but make a decision about the kind of business you want to have. And when you've got that audience and now you're starting to think of like, okay, how can I really leverage my time here it is time to think about creating those leveraged offers.
So investing in a membership site, creating that course, but the bottom line is to figure out what the right business model is for you at this point in time. Do you want a membership core? Do you want a membership site? Do you want to create a course? Do you want to have like a super high-level mastermind? It is completely up to you on how you create your business.
So finally, let's end online course addiction.
Let's start thinking thoughtfully about what our business needs and what we need to invest in to help our business grow and thrive without driving us insane.
Because taking course after course after course is a recipe for staying stuck in your business.
It's a recipe for not moving ahead. Figure out what business needs, what problem needs to be solved, and then find the right solution. And sometimes that right solution is hiring actual help. A coach, a consultant, a strategist, a social media manager, a virtual assistant, because courses can't solve all of our business problems, even though they promise that they can.
Sometimes the best direction is to figure out exactly what you need and hire for what will solve that problem.