Last week I let you peek behind the curtain of my business, sharing some of the biggest lessons I learned from my biggest launch yet.
- Lesson 1: Keeping it “the same” is still a ton of work
- Lesson 2: Long lead-ups are great but exhausting
- Lesson 3: Launching can be done success on your terms style
- Lesson 4: Holding intentions for impossible goals is a great (and terrible) idea
Now I’m spilling the nitty gritty with three more lessons you won’t want to miss.
Lesson #6 is a hard pill for me to swallow—and it will surprise you.
Lesson #5: Numbers are predictable
I’ve seen this over and over again for myself, my colleagues, and my clients. Numbers are predictable.
No matter how much I wish I could defy the odds, I’ve yet to crack this code.
Knowing your numbers is an important factor in predicting your income, so here’s what you need to know for your own business no matter what stage you’re in.
Predictable numbers for new online business owners
If you’re new to running your online business, use these numbers as a baseline:
- 10-15 hours of client-getting activities (a.k.a., marketing directly to your target audience, done in exactly the right way) will yield one paying client.
- 1000 Subscribers is the foundation for a six-figure, one-on-one, service-based business.
- 1-5% of your active subscriber base will buy what you’re selling (if you have good marketing in place and don’t try to sell them too often).
There’s comfort—and frustration—in these numbers.
Predictable numbers for experienced online business owners offering one-on-one services
If you’ve been offering high-end, one-on-one services for awhile and have a full roster or a waiting list, you’ve reached a point where it takes much less than 10-15 hours of time to get one client.
If you’re tracking it (as you should), you know what your marketing time is, and it’s predictable. Even better, you know exactly what marketing activities work the best for your business.
You, my friend, are in the best position there is. As I’ll touch on in a moment and again next week, this business model is the most predictable and the most profitable, by far.
It’s why I’m such a huge advocate of starting out by building a one-on-one, serviced-based business, especially for people who crave a consistent, reliable, full-time income.
Predictable numbers for experienced online business owners offering products, courses, and programs
When you’re launching products, courses, and programs, you can rely on your past results to gauge future results.
For example, from my last few launches, I know rough application submission rates, application acceptance rates, and accepted-applicant conversion rates. It’s based on these “real” numbers that I was able to set a launch threshold goal and a pie-in-the-sky goal.
Important side note in relying on past numbers: You MUST calculate your numbers based on your “active” list size, not your whole email list.
This means you can’t count people who haven’t opened a single email from you in the last 3 months, a dangerous mistake I see many of my peers making. (This is why you must always be building your list.)
But even though I know my numbers, it’s still easy to think, “Well this launch will be different! Because we’re doing ALL THESE NEW THINGS, so our conversion rate will definitely go up up up!”
Yeah, I wish.
No matter how hard I tried to beat the numbers from the past—from adding awesome new bonuses to three live webinars and having the coaches hop on the phone when applicants had questions—our numbers were still predictable.
So if we up-leveled our efforts, why didn’t our numbers increase?
Because the launch landscape is always changing.
It’s not that “launches don’t work anymore,” a misinformed story too many people are sharing. It’s that launches aren’t as easy as they used to be.
The market has more players in it; the world economy isn’t as strong as it once was; and the online noise and distractions are intense.
To get the same results you got with your last launch, you must do things far better than you did before (and calculate your numbers correctly!).
Lesson learned: Although I hate to admit it, I know this to be true:
- numbers are predictable
- to continue to meet your past numbers you have to up-level
Said another way: If you keep doing the same things in the old way, your numbers will go DOWN.Click to TweetWhen it comes to selling services, programs, and courses online, the numbers are predictable. There’s comfort—and frustration—in that.
Lesson #6: One-on-one services are still more profitable than group programs
This pill is the biggest and hardest one for me to swallow.
No matter how I slice and dice the math, for me to continue to provide the high-touch services clients have come to expect from me—like what I offer in Make It Work Online—it simply does not make financial sense for me to continue to offer group programs.
My business was far more profitable when I only served high-end, private clients, had a small team of very part-time contractors, and sold a handful of digital products and DIY programs.
But I can’t go back. It’s so clear to me that this is my path—or I’m a serious glutton for punishment! (I’ll talk more about why I’m sticking with this business model in Lesson #7.)
At the same time, I’m still committed to figuring out how to continue to serve my clients in my uncompromising fashion while also increasing my own profits. After all, when both my bookkeeper and accountant say I’ve set too low of a salary for myself, maybe I should listen.
Lesson for you: One-on-one services have significantly higher profit margins, despite what most experts try to tell you!
Lesson for me: Keep working this problem, Jenny. Uncompromising services, success on your terms, and a healthy profit, too. You will figure it out; you always do.My Personal Recommendation for YouWant to Sell a Course, Product, or Group Program? Read This First to Learn Why Most Fail & How to Avoid It
Lesson #7: I love teamwork so so much!!
A big reason why I continue to run group programs and lead a sizeable support team—despite the financial nonsense, more of which I’ll reveal next week—is because I love working with a team!
There were three things I missed when I left my corporate job:
- On-site lunchtime yoga three days per week
- A little social time for this introvert
- Teamwork with some awesome, smart people
Working for myself was great in so many ways except for those three things. And unless I’m going to hire a private yoga teacher to come to my house (which, now that I say it, sounds like an interesting idea), and unless I go to a coworking space (which I’m not—misophonia), then the only one I have real control over is the third one: teamwork.
And that’s what I’ve been slowly working on over the last few years by growing an incredible team of smart, motivated, drama-free, git-‘er-done kind of folks. Truly, it’s been amazing.
I tripled the fun this year by growing my team of Make It Work Online coaches to serve our incredible clients. Only a few weeks in, and I’m head over heels in love with them and how it serves me and serves our clients.
The problem, of course, is that it’s expensive!
Still, it’s a tradeoff I’ve consciously made. More fun, better client results, great people… less profits.
How much less, you might wonder?
I’m going to tell you next week, when I reveal some real numbers. (Yes, real numbers. They’ll probably surprise you, too.)
Still More to Come…
There you are with my top seven lessons from this most recent launch.
Come back next week for a peek at the launch ledger and what it really costs to run a big launch (and why it’s not yet worth it in my book).
In the meantime, I’d love to hear from you.
What of the above lessons surprised you? What seems pretty obvious?
As I say, clarity comes from taking action, so tell us what actions you’ve taken and what lessons you’ve learned in the process.
I can’t wait to hear from you in the comments below… and see you back here next week for Part 3!