We know that making a profit is a goal for your business. Everybody wants to make money! But you might think that to make money, all you need to do is sell. This leads you to think that to sell, you need to close. But there's a better way. When you bring value instead of closing, you not only make a profit, you also build community.
Running and growing a business that makes you happy has positive results for you, your clients, your community and the world. How do you do it? By always bringing value. Sometimes this means helping someone for free, and other times it means being a guest on a podcast. The way you can bring value is unique to your personality and business story.
We wrote this guide with 6 tips that we use on a regular basis to bring you value and connection. We don't believe that the bottom line in business is to close, we believe that it's about bringing value and creating community.
Hopefully, you'll try doing it this way. And hopefully, it'll make you happy.
Because after all, our motto is, "If it's not making you happy, you're doing it wrong."
Make authentic connections
Networking can do so much for your business. Creating meaningful connections can end up not only in new clients, but also in new team members or even lifelong business friends. There are lots of ways you can network, you don't even need to be a super extroverted person to get results.
- Take part in conversation inside Facebook groups, yours and others in your niche.
- Keep your Facebook Messenger and Twitter DMs open.
- Join the Profit LaunchCrew™
- Share promotional links with your pitch in groups when there are sharing threads or promo days.
- Attend summits and participate in break-out rooms.
- When possible, attend in-person events that pertain to your business.
- Get on Clubhouse and share valuable tidbits.
- Always be prepared to explain your business with a passionate and honest response.
As you meet people and connect, keep a contact list. In the future, you can circle back with them and start up a conversation again. Go on their social media accounts and engage by leaving genuine comments in their posts, share them if you think they're valuable and keep in touch here and there.
Bring value by sharing your knowledge
The things you know about your experience in running a business and solving problems are your magic power in any situation. Inside the Facebook and networking groups you're a part of, browse the posts until you find one that asks a question you know the answer to. Reply with a comment that answers their question in the most valuable way possible.
Write blog posts and articles that answer these questions in greater depth. Give actionable advice with examples. Share these articles on social media and newsletters, inviting readers to leave comments.
Write ebooks, guides or worksheets that will help people. Create courses or conduct workshops that offer specific solutions to their issues. Use insight from the conversations you've had.
Stay true to your core values
Your core values are the True North of your business and should also be the foundation of every interaction you have with people. Keeping them always at top of mind will help discern what people deserve more of your time and which ones don't. It might happen along the way that you start to collaborate with someone and then realize that you weren't really a good match, to begin with.
Look at your core values and theirs and decide whether it's worth continuing the collaboration or not. If you want to give it a try first before calling it off, of course, you can do that, just make sure to not give in to things that are not going to make you happy.
Learn from others
Knowledge sharing is a two-way street.
Just how you know of things that others might not, they know things that you might not. So, always keep your ears open and listen to what people have to say. When something interests you in someone's social post, comment asking for more information. If you read a bunch of content from someone and keep feeling like you can relate, that they are giving value, take notice. Follow them on social media, comment and interact on their posts. Maybe you'll even end up having a conversation about your experiences and sharing valuable knowledge with each other. And how much does that cost? Nothing. And who will get value out of it? Both of you!
Staying accountable is important inside your business when it comes to offering value. Creating valuable content takes time and effort. It's easy to feel discouraged or uninspired during the process. If you have a difficult time doing this on your own, join accountability groups, find other small business owners in the same position and work through your projects at the same time.
Know when to step back
Finally, the last tip that will help you bring value is to know when it's time to step back.
This can be as simple as saying no to a collaboration that doesn't feel right, or maybe it's a much-needed break from so much networking. Also, don't give advice unless you're asked to do so. If you love giving advice, create a group where the whole idea is that you give advice to people that need help with what you offer. This last option is actually the most valuable because you can share detailed advice with people that really need it.
How are you bringing value to your audience? Have you yet mastered the art of selling without selling?
Do you have any tips to share with our readers? This is your opportunity to bring value and practice sharing insightful information for people you could connect with.
Stop Selling AT people. Stop focusing on CLOSING!
I’m sick of it! But, you know what I’m sick and tired of?
Everyone keeps telling me to focus on the pain points I will solve for clients, as my key value proposition. The marketing coaches and experts all tell me to sell using these pain points as evidence of my value.
But why do you all need to feel the pain BEFORE you’re willing to get the help?
Why do you want to put yourself in a losing position instead of doing this work together?
Why are you waiting?
You may not see the issues lurking ahead in your business, but I do! Let’s get out in front of them! Do you know why? Because “Fix it Susie” is WAY more expensive than proactive Suz. There is more than just a cost involved with fixing stuff after it’s broken... There is an opportunity cost from the lost profits that you could’ve made. By waiting, you are throwing away precious profit and time!
You have the time to do this work (we do it together in just 90 minutes a few times per month)! I'm a roll-up-her-sleeves and do the work WITH you Consultant and Advisor!
Do you know what else I’m sick and tired of?
I’m tired of being “Fix it Susie”!
I am proactive, foundation-building Suz.
I work with people who are willing to learn from other people’s mistakes and accept that they don’t know what they don’t know and are ready to let an expert help them build a strong foundation for fast, solid growth.
10 Experiences of Being “Fix it Susie”
- Being the one who has to pull a company back from the brink of ruin.
- Being the one who has to research and go back in time and negotiate with authorities and get things into compliance before the company has to fold due to massive penalties and legal fees.
- Being the one who has to repair damaged relationships between employees and leadership because their Culture is so toxic that no one trusts each other and the business is close to failure.
- Being the one who has to tediously work within departments and their processes and systems to rework them all to make them work together more efficiently, so the dysfunction of the company doesn’t keep costing them so much, they have abysmal profits.
- Being the one who has to learn every piece of software and teach everyone else because there is no accountability or sense of ownership in the Culture or resources lacking to invest in employees to get the knowledge and tools needed to drive the company forward.
- Being the one who has to create first-time employee manuals, policies, and benefits packages when they’ve had employees for 5+ years!
- Being the one who has to clean up years of accounting because the reporting is shit and leaders and owners have no idea where they are with sales or profit or cash flow. (OMG!)
- Being the one who has to pull everyone together to create a Vision and Strategic Plan that everyone can get aligned on and execute upon because no one else is willing or able.
- Being the one who has to be courageous to confront issues in the company with biz owners or CEO’s and put my job or gig on the line to shake things up and repair what is broken.
- Being the one to hold others accountable when they are not being stewards of the Core Values or the only one who will admit fault when I make a mistake. (And yes, I have had to do this a lot.)
You can afford to do this work.
You can’t afford to NOT do this work (my services pay for themselves typically and result in ROI within 4-8 months)!
The rest of you… once things catch fire or break down or fail… let’s just hope you find the right person who is experienced and trustworthy to help you dig out and fix it. Because guess what?
I’ve also been the “Fix it Susie after the let’s-hope-Marj-can-fix-it-after-the-maybe-THIS-consultant-Bob-can-fix-it-so-now-we-are-almost-out-of-options-and-cash to afford Fix it Susie.”
And let me tell you… It’s rough and very expensive at this point to dig out of THAT MESS.
Stop it. Stop the madness before it starts. Let’s work together... Because it just doesn’t need to be this hard, and you don’t need to suffer through the pain points that are ahead for you otherwise.
I don’t want to solve your pain points that were wholly avoidable. I’m sick of that.
I want to share with you what I’ve learned over 25 years of being out there in dozens of businesses in the thick of it trying to fix these problems after they’ve been ignored. Let's be proactive.
Let’s get to work.
How was I supposed to grow a business during a global pandemic while living in a foreign country? (I focused on impact and service to others and it sort of worked out.)
When Carol Azams reached out to me in May and asked me to write a 1000 word piece on my Covid Lockdown story for her book, I was pretty uncomfortable. I don't consider myself a writer but I do enjoy sharing my thoughts with the world. I was in a negative mental state, stuck in Tokyo and unable to see my family and friends for a year and a half at that point and I was OVER IT. I was nervous to share my life and thoughts so openly.
But, alas... I sat down and wrote. It was cathartic, actually.
Here's is the draft I submitted. The book has recently been published so if you'd like to order the book and hear another 100+ stories, you can follow this link HERE.
Lockdown. It sounds so ominous. It sounds so… Confining. Stifling.
Covid to me has meant many “downs.” Downplay. Cut Down. Hunker Down. Melt Down. Buckle Down. Calm Down. Double Down.
I recall seeing videos and reports out of China in January of 2020 that seemed like something pretty major was coming, but no one was taking it seriously. Downplay. Quieted voices of those on ground zero of the world’s newest pandemic. Living in Tokyo in a Culture of mask wearers who have little physical contact (bows and nods replace handshakes), it seemed like business as usual. After all, the Olympics were scheduled to come, subways were still packed, and bars and clubs stayed crowded and bustling until 5am… as usual.
You see, Tokyo doesn’t have a real “lockdown.” They have state of emergency and levels of such. They have “recommendations” and “strong advice” and vaguely worded warnings and requests for “less” activities socially. Those progressed to stronger recommendations and soon, guidelines… for people to Cut Down on their social activities and working in offices. This lack of true ‘lockdown’ status has undoubtedly caused confusion and allowed cases to rise. The Olympics were finally postponed and we all took a collective sigh of relief that Tokyo wouldn’t be flooded with thousands of tourists spreading Covid. Around the same time came the travel restrictions which were not rolled out consistently or fairly. Japanese Nationals were allowed to travel in and out of Japan, but Foreign Residents were subject to impossible to overcome re-entry conditions. Thousands of foreign workers were suddenly barred from seeing their loved ones, their children, or their parents. Meanwhile, on Facebook our friends would post about traveling internationally for vacations, while the rest of us were held captive to our apartments, oblivious to our pain and stress.
We took the pandemic seriously and stayed home. We ordered groceries and food for delivery. We accepted finding a way to both work from home. Netflix replaced restaurants and sightseeing. It didn’t seem worth the risk… so we decided to Hunker Down. We felt guilty for even accepting this assignment for my husband’s job in Tokyo, for abandoning our kids and family and friends. Had we known we wouldn’t see anyone for 18-20 months, I don’t think we ever would done this move. Our next priority was finding a way to get home and close to loved ones. In the meantime, I leaned in to my business supporting small business owners, helping them with hours of free advisory services on how to pivot to keep their livelihoods, their dreams, and everything they’ve worked so hard and sacrificed everything for alive.
As a Myers Briggs ENFP (with 68% F) I feel EVERYTHING and the weight of trying to support all of these people who were struggling with their businesses, one after the after, crying as they grapple with everything that is at stake for their families, their employees, and their communities, started to take its toll. The daily doldrums of sitting inside and working until 4am to accommodate time zones and waking early to catch east coast meetings started to take its toll. The lack of clarity and back and forth of sorting out the ridiculously complicated process to move back to the US, on top of the stress of an endless to-do list, took a toll... I had a monumental Melt Down. I had let my health go, lost track of the days of the week, and ate my feelings. Every. Single. One. 🙂
I’ve had melt downs before. I could generally feel them coming and proactively address them by receiving support from friends, family, or my therapist. But this time, I struggled much longer than I needed to for one simple reason: I didn’t feel like it was right for me complain. I thought, what kind of entitled bitch am I if I vent or complain about my situation when we’re so fortunate, and people are literally dying by the thousands, when loved ones aren’t even able to say goodbye due to quarantines, when businesses are failing, and families are left struggling both financially and emotionally. I kept telling myself that I was fine and all I needed to do was Buckle Down. I put all my energy into helping small business owners whether they could afford me or not - I figured that was the best use of my time and energy, instead of worrying about “the money” or growing ProfitLogics®.
The pressure built and I wasn’t sleeping. I was leaving it all out on the field pouring into others, then screaming at my husband, and then crying about it. I made an appointment with my doctor and started balling 5 seconds into my visit. Full of guilt and embarrassment, I told her, “I thought I was tougher than this. I thought I had things under control. I’ve been through way more than this and overcome a ridiculous amount of adversity, but I’m faltering.” I finally got help for my anxiety and sleep issues, and started virtual therapy sessions. I slowly, eventually, as pieces of our move back home starting coming together and found a way to Calm Down, and I started sleeping again.
It was soon after that my fire to grow my business came back… I found inspiration and energy to roll out new offerings that were more affordable and accessible to the people I want to help, but it was a lot of work and hours invested. I also decided to Double Down on my business and start my life’s dream years ahead of schedule… I started my nonprofit organization to make professional services that are critical to small business survival and growth more accessible. And, now we are just 16 days from our flights to move back to USA.
As Japan grapples with increasing cases and logistics issues with getting vaccines out, we are excited to get home, quarantine, and get vaccinated… and finally reconnect and rebuild.
Susan Fessenden, Founder ProfitLogics® and creator of The 5 Missing Pieces™ to business growth.
So there you go. Now we are finally back in the US, settled in Virginia Beach. We've gotten our vaccinations and much needed quality time with most close family and friends. And now, we are rebooting ProfitLogics®, our Facebook Group Happy Businessing™ and my live-streamed shows. It's soooo good to be back.
Now it's time for another "down"... Getting DOWN to business!
Are you ready to grow a business or start a business, or is your business stuck? Please reach out... I offer small business advice via an advisory call for FREE, I give discounts to fit budgets, and I'm here to help.
If you want to grow a business one thing is clear: You have to be willing to put yourself out there. I realized that if I want to help thousands of small businesses grow, survive, and thrive with my 5 Business Questions, I would have to be more accessible and let more people get to know me.
I’m not a millennial (clearly) so I haven’t been broadcasting every aspect of my life out into the world since I was 10. Up until 2 month ago, my Facebook Profile was still super locked down with only a few aspects of my life or values expressed. And then, I made a decision to change things up.
But this was very uncomfortable at first. People I’ve dated and ex-employers would all have access to see my life – where I’m living, what I’m doing, what I look like. Yikes. I had to do a big ‘Woosahh’ to overcome this discomfort. But beyond that, I would have to overcome the learning curve as well!
Skip to today… Now I have a weekly live show, Happy Businessing with Suz, where I give small business advice to help people start a business the right way - now LIVE streaming to FB Groups with 550,000 members! I help them learn from other business owners how to grow a business, and even teach them my 5 Business Questions, a framework for scaling up with a strong foundation.
But there has been a lot of trial and error… Here are the top 7 things I’ve learned so far!
1. Get over yourself and just do it already!
I’ve been running corporate meetings and leading culture-building facilitation for over a decade. But the thought of going live in a Facebook Group of fellow business owners terrified me. I’m fortunate that a member of a FB Group encouraged me to go live and that she was so supportive and even offered to go live with me. (Thank you, Jennie Wright!) But I still wasn’t able to do it. I had to do it on my own terms.
I created a fake FB Group that was set to private and with only me in it, and played around with the direct Live from Facebook tool. I was able to experience the delay, see what all was in frame, see what looked ok or what looked bad, and tweak it!
Then, I was ready.
I went live in my small business owners’ group Happy Businessing - Small Business Big Dreams and managed to stay on for about 2 minutes. Heart racing, face flushed, facial muscles tight… but damnit, I did it!
Then, I doubled down and practiced in my fake group on how to use Zoom for my lives because I had a vision of having a show with guests that I would be interviewing. I practiced and learned that tool until I was comfortable and went live briefly in some of my groups and slowly became more comfortable.
2. Upgrade your game with good lighting
I’m in Tokyo and there are lots of sunny days and despite having a big window and doing all of my lives mid-day, I still struggle to get good, even lighting. I started with some small LED lights but they just weren’t strong enough. I decided that if I’m going to do something, I want it to look as good as possible, so I upgraded.
I bought professional lighting and I’m so glad I did. I’m still learning where to aim them and need to add more, but for now, I have these Neewer LED lights that I’m pretty happy with!
3. Use a good camera to create a higher quality video
Many people just use their computer webcams or their phones, but mine didn't look good. I realized; Hey, I have this awesome Canon EOS SL2… I wonder if I can use that to get a higher quality recording?
I did some research and found out about the Elgato CamLink 4K which converts your digital camera to a webcam! When it showed up, it was amazing. This was literally the easiest thing I’ve ever done. You just plug it with an HDMI cable, adjust some settings, and you’re off! (Be careful! I recently realized that I should’ve been using an HDMI cable of less than 2 meters in length to ensure quality so a shorter cable is now on its way!)
4. Hardwire your internet service instead of connecting over WiFi
I actually put this off for a long time until a guest had to run off from the show prematurely because she was using too much wifi in her household causing issues for her husband’s job! I ordered a basic Cat 6 cable and yes, it runs through the whole apartment because we can’t do a real installation, but I think it helps quite a bit!
Don’t forget to recommend to your guests that they do the same! (And, have everyone close extra browser tabs that are open, and turn the sound off for their notifications, etc.)
5. Stream into multiple places at the same time!
Lately, since Covid-19, I’ve been quite a homebody and it’s quite notable if I take the time to do my hair and makeup. It takes about 45 minutes to create professional-level hair and makeup for the show (if I start with wet hair, add 20 minutes). On top of that, I have to re-arrange my office a bit because during the week I have our quarantine puppy, Ruth Bader Skywalker, set up on my sofa. Doggy bed, food, water, pee pad tray, toys, treats, leashes, you name it, all sprawled out all week long!
Then I have to adjust my lights, test the angle and focus on my camera to ensure after a dozen zoom meetings I haven’t messed it up. As you can see, the preparation day of the show is a bit involved.
But that’s not all…
I also have to vet my guests previously, research their businesses, set up a meeting to get to know them and prepare for the show, write up the show outline, follow up and set reminders, create posts in Canva (affiliate link) and promote the show in advance. A lot goes into Happy Businessing with Suz. And I'm trying to grow a business too with limited time on my hands. So I stream live in multiple places at one time, and only go through all of this preparation ONCE.
To stream in multiple places at once, you can do it a couple different ways:
- You can go live using Facebook Live and then set up watch parties in multiple groups.
- You can use Zoom or BeLive or OBS (if you have guests) and do the same thing.
- I prefer to use StreamYard and stream live into multiple places at a time, including Facebook Groups and Pages, LinkedIn, YouTube, and more.
StreamYard has subscription tiers to choose from. For instance you can stream into 3 places at one time for $25/mo or like my plan, stream into 8 destinations with Full HD for $50/mo. Plus I love StreamYard because you can add branding and overlays to bring more professionalism to it!
The only downside to StreamYard is that you have to be made an “admin” to be able to stream into groups and some FB Groups are uncomfortable making members admins. But, when I encounter that, I just stream to that one group as a watch party. I would prefer to stream right into the group, but setting up one watch party in one group while I stream to 5 other places LIVE is workable for me!
Another thing to keep in mind is that more and more groups are on to the power of Live engagement within their groups and they are charging for it. I pay a substantial amount to go live in some of the larger groups but since I don’t spend much on marketing, I consider my show Happy Businessing a key marketing activity for ProfitLogics and justify the expense accordingly.
6. Chop up your content to be used in other social media applications
A while back Gary Vee (Vaynerchuk) did a free education on how he efficiently creates content – check out his video on how to create 64 pieces of content in one day. So, once you have your shows done, be sure to download them and edit the footage for other platforms.
Never miss an episode of Happy Businessing by subscribing HERE
Then, I'll break the show up into small bites of education, advice, or quick valuable tidbits and post those to TikTok, Reels, and other places! I’ve been working on this currently and I’m super excited to try out Instagram’s Reels.
7. Vet & prepare your guests
- Have a back up plan
- I've had 2 guests flake on me DAY OF THE SHOW. Not fun... So I learned the hard way that I always have to have a back up show outline ready to go. Yes, this is a lot of work, but it's necessary.
- Spend time with the guest preparing a show outline, testing technology, and helping them understand the flow.
- I received amazing feedback from a guest: "Here are the things I really appreciated... we had a great show prep meeting where you kept us on track, you gave me clear and concise directions so I knew what was going to happen during the show, we were relaxed and it felt like a natural business conversation. Yahoo!
- Have your guests sign a media consent form
- I recently decided to add a consent form to my guest vetting process. Since you never know where things might go, I think it’s always a good idea to specify the terms of the show and the content. I got mine from the same company I used for my legal bundle Plug And Law.
Over to you!
If you want to grow a business, going Live is an excellent way to engage with your audience in an authentic, meaningful way. I encourage all of you to give it a shot and grow your concept from there! When I first went live I never imagined I would turn it into a branded weekly show that is now streaming to groups with 550,000 members.
Use your Live to educate and garner interest for your offerings, but I’d say keep the salesy crap to a minimum. People want to hear from you and get to know you, not be sold to all the time! And if you want to try it out and think you’re a good fit for Happy Businessing, be sure to sign up and we’ll reach out to you soon!
If you want a small business community to test out your lives and get into the groove, you are welcome to join my Facebook Groups with a smaller audience of small business owners and talk to me about it! The first one is Happy Businessing - Small Business Big Dreams where you connect with fellow entrepreneurs, and the second one is Advertise & Promote Free (English, B2B only) by Happy Businessing which is for advertising and promotion.
And don’t forget to HAVE FUN! Because as I always say, your business doesn’t make you happy, you’re doing it wrong!
Tools, Collaborators & Affiliate Links
Subscribe to Happy Businessing on YouTube
Join our Facebook Group for business owners
Join our Facebook Group for free advertising & promotion
Want to go live in established, reputable Facebook Groups?
400,000 Members: Women Helping Women Entrepreneurs
70,000 Member: Women’s Entrepreneur Network
Plug And Law’s Legal Bundle
Inexpensive Film Editor Filmora 9 by Wondershare
Don’t make the same mistakes twice! Or at least that’s what they say… ProfitLogics would need to be drastically different from my previous consulting venture. Solo-businesses based on hourly billing are simply not scalable – there are only a certain number of hours to bill and a limit to the number of businesses you can help!
Creating a program that could help any business grow regardless of size, stage, or industry was my 1st goal when I developed the Grows Profit 5 Business Questions.
My 2nd goal was to use eCourses to make the program financially accessible to all small businesses!
I’ve taken enough eCourses to know what I don’t like, and I wanted mine to be what all those other courses weren’t.
- Conversational (Authentically ‘Suz” – Silly comments and all!
- Attention-keeping (Instead of slide after slide with voice-over!)
- Well-rounded (Informative, yet practical application examples!)
As a member of many small business groups, I often contribute advice and best practices to help small businesses get out of the weeds whenever possible with quick and free help and found some common threads of concern:
- Erroneously using W-9 contractors instead of employees
- Hiring employees and deciding on payroll solutions for the first time
- Wondering if it was feasible for them to start hiring
- Becoming an employer too soon = catastrophic cash-flow shortfalls
I decided that my first Hiring? Payroll? Compliance? Ohhh Crap! All the Basics eCourse was a lot to cover and very technical. People devote their entire careers to being Certified Payroll & HR Professionals and take lots of coursework to obtain their expertise. How on earth would I boil my knowledge down to a “here are the basics” eCourse to arm small businesses with the bare essentials?
It started like many projects do… with an outline in PowerPoint. I came up with 7 Modules that I wanted to cover and then all I would need to do was record a zillion clips and smoosh it all together into an LMS platform. Right?
It was so much work and these are the biggest lessons from the mistakes I made that cost me time and my sanity:
1. Hire some help at the beginning
I stalled for months before I even got started due to the simple fact that I couldn’t visualize the final product. I was stuck in a swirl over eCourse style, format, where to start, how to market it, and what to do first.
After a couple of months of procrastination, I finally hired a talented Creative Professional to help me formulate and execute the plan. I wish I had hired her much sooner!
2. Start with smaller subject matter
I wish I had started with something more simple. Teaching someone all the basics of compliance and hiring is not a simple task. Partway through, it became clear that I needed to break the big 7-Module course into 2 separate courses.
I realized that the first Module “Is your business ready for hiring?” needed to stand alone as its own mini-course people could take quickly and very inexpensively to serve as a good ‘gut check’ about the readiness of their business to embark on becoming an employer.
This means that my project basically doubled… 2 different products that would work if taken separately or together. We managed to finish the mini-eCourse and get it up on my site, but we couldn’t stop to market it because we had another whole 6-Module course to tackle!
I should’ve planned to do the small mini-eCourse, to begin with… and focused on that instead of the huge breadth of information I had to mentally organize for the larger course content. The sheer size of the main course was daunting and subject matter numbness and review exhaustion set in.
When I would review clips and slides, I was so tired of it all that I didn’t catch issues until much later in the process, which made it much more difficult to fix later.
3. Fully research and think through the LMS platform
A major mistake I made early on was selecting an LMS platform that wasn’t right. I had decided to go with Thinkific for ease of use and price, not realizing how complicated this decision was going to make things. Thinkific is fantastic for businesses that need one platform to handle their whole business - It’s amazing for that.
The problem was that I already had my own website and eCommerce solution, so I didn’t need those features.
At first, I didn’t see a problem. I figured I could always change my tools later as my business grew and for now that using something out of the box would be fine. We carried on and completed the mini-eCourse on Hiring Readiness in Thinkific. Sweet! A major milestone completed!
People wanting my course would start from my site, but instead of adding it to their cart, the product listing would instead take them over to Thinkific to check out, pay, create an account, and take the course.
Wait… Ohhhh, Yuck.
What if they also want to buy other items? They would have to check out through my site for some stuff, and through Thinkific for courses. We made a fix in Thinkific by adding my Hourly Advisory Services. Phew! Wait… Some people will get my course and advisory services on Thinkific, and some will get my advisory services and eWorkbooks on my site?
And then I thought about the crazy correspondence process with my email service for the eCourse sales vs other sales coming from 2 different platforms and yah… and it got messy and complicated.
Yuck. Yuckity Yuck!
And then, I thought about my planned Affiliate Marketing Program. If I have sales going through Thinkific as well my ecommerce site, then how will I easily manage the Affiliate commissions?
It would be a total and complete Cluster-Yuck!
I had a huge decision to make. Do I change my platform after I already told people the course on Hiring Readiness was ready? Can I live with this mess for a year and switch later? What would I use for my platform? My website professional said his team could build my courses directly into my site, but custom web development sounded costly, time-consuming, and problematic from a long-term servicing perspective.
The next idea was to use an existing LMS that embeds into your site so the customer has one, seamless experience. That was LearnDash and that is what I decided to use. The decision to switch platforms midway through this project was heartbreaking as it added a substantial amount of time to our full eCourse release, but ultimately it was the right decision!
Ensuring that my customers have a consistent, seamless experience on my site was the most important factor. The second-largest factor was the ability to efficiently manage my future Affiliate Marketing Program. It is also important to note that if you go with a LearnDash type of WordPress plug-in LMS solution that you will need to bolt-on your own video hosting solution with proper security and settings – we went with a Vimeo Plus subscription.
4. Don’t buy annual software subscriptions
It must be the recovering accountant in me…
OMG, the number of times that I’ve opted for the ‘Annual Subscriptions’ to save $20.
I’ve learned the hard way that when starting with something new, always just purchase the monthly subscriptions until you have fully tried out and decided long term that it is the best solution for your project! My frugal sensibilities got the best of me and I was shortsighted about sunk costs if that product didn’t work for me!
5. Create an organized plan for each stage
Since this was the first project of this type for myself and my Creative Director, we didn’t know what we didn’t know. Our final product isn’t perfect but we are proud and excited to be done so we can begin the next one with a better process!
Consider how you will submit completed work to each other, how revisions and corrections will be done and communicated, and how to limit the number of revisions. We should have had a full and complete review of each Module before moving forward. I should have reviewed my video clips more thoroughly before sending them to her. I should have proofread and reworded each slide before giving to her. Revision after revision after revision was tedious and exhausting, but we sure learned our lesson!
I hope this article has been helpful to you on your eCourse journey! Let me know if you have any specific questions about the process! And if you are considering hiring employees or have gaps in your compliance knowledge or hiring best practices go check out my two new eCourses: Hiring Readiness Mini-eCourse and Hiring for the First Time.
Tools & Collaborators
- www.oranavelarde.com – Creative Oversight & Direction
- www.infinitemonkeys.ca – Website & Branding
- Vimeo (Plus)
- Adobe Premier Pro
- Envato Elements
- Canva Pro
- Google Drive
- Canon EOS Rebel SL2
- Neewer LED Lights
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