Are you sitting on a course, product or a service you feel like you have to prove yourself to everyone first before you offer it?
I've been in business for 12 years in my coaching practice, and I totally understand why people have these feelings before they offer because I personally have experienced them:
Where does this come from?
I've heard this from clients. I've even heard this from mentors of mine. Over the years, I've met colleagues and people when I've done speaking engagements who have said, “Yeah, I've always wanted to do that, but I haven’t” or “Oh, I'm developing it”. But they've been developing it for years.
If you continue to develop yourself or your offering forever without making an offer, what could happen is that by the time you are ready to offer, it's not what your ideal client needs anymore.
Or by the time you offer, it is not something your clients even wanted. But you have now spent so much time, energy, and money into developing something fully. Then you're not even going to get the rewards from it.
I'm quite passionate about this because so many women out there have really amazing offerings inside of them. They're hesitant. They feel like:
I had a client, and we talked about how she was going to start offering her courses. She's an expert in her industry and great at what she does, so I was so excited for her saying, “Okay, let's get these out there, Did you want to start with the ones you already have, the ones you're currently developing, or the new ones your clients have asked you for?”
Then she sent me a message and said, “You know, I haven't done it yet because I feel like I want to spend the next two months doing research and getting things ready. Then I’ll be able to prove myself because not everyone knows me yet.”
Well, that's right, not EVERYONE knows her. But how many times have you bought a product, and you didn't know the company's owner or you didn't know about the company? You just thought, “Oh, yeah, I want that” and you bought it. That's what happens so often.
When you offer the most amazing product that is perfect for your client, they usually don't care who made it. They're just like, “Can you deliver on what you're offering? Great, I want to get it.” You don't need to prove to everyone in the world that you can do something before you offer it. Otherwise, how will you ever be ready to offer the course?
I'm going to talk mainly about courses, but if you have a product or a service, please think about that as I continue on. Also, if you’re making a product and you’re going to manufacture it, and it will be a huge expenditure, then please do your do-diligence and do full research and a SWOT analysis. Take the time to do the backend of things because your upfront costs are so much higher than offering a course or a service.
It is possible to offer (sell) your courses before you fully create them. What do you need to be able to do that? Here are the 3 things:
The key part is you don’t have to develop every single module, with every single video, and every single handout already locked in. I'll tell you a little secret. The Dynamic You program was basically developed in 24 hours. The first module was developed, 24 hours before my clients started the program. Then as soon as I finished the coaching call about that first module, I’d be developing the next module and then the next day they would get it. I was only ever a day or two ahead of them.
The benefit of that, for me, has been that I can see what my clients are going through in the moment. I can add things. I can change things. I can change the order of when they learn different pieces. So know it’s an opportunity for you. It will answer questions such as:
Why is it okay to offer a product or a service before you have proven results?
Do you want to know probably the one reason your limiting beliefs are going to lock into? It is common practice in many industries, particularly in startups, small businesses, new ventures, where the product or service is still being developed or tested. It's common practice. It's normal to put things out there even in the start-up stage.
Now even if we think about products in the food industry. How many times have you seen a fast food restaurant say, “For a limited time” and they'll offer a special burger. They're testing it out. They're seeing how it does. Know that for the course or program you're offering, you can offer it for a limited time to just test it out. Then if it doesn’t work you pull it.
What you can do
There are several things you can do to improve your confidence about a product or a service. I was talking with someone who I saw as my mentor in my early years of business. I brought her my concerns, my questions, my worries, and my obstacles. I also shared my successes with her. One day she was sharing about how she needed to take another course and do another set of schooling before she would offer her course or program.
I said to her, “I bet if I brought together a group of people tomorrow, gave you two hours, you could teach them.” She said, “So of course, I could.” Well, there you go. There's your answer. She just felt she had to be more. But you don't.
Here's what you can do instead:
The 5 Steps
Now, you want to know the real secret here?
It's five steps, actually.
Step 1: Pick what you're passionate about.
Step 2: Run it
Just run it. Now a lot of times people say, “I'm going to run a beta course and I'm going to make it free.”
You don't have to.
Now, here's the one thing if you don't have the education behind it… if you don't have the knowledge. Don't offer.
This is the problem with overnight coaches: the people who haven't done any of the schooling or certification to be a coach. Please don't go out there and offer courses, services, and programs if you don’t have the background.
On the flip side you don't need to get yet another certificate before you can offer. Enough already. Make your offer and don’t give is away for free or peanuts because you’re new or it’s new.
Not sure where you fit in this? Here's the question, you can ask yourself: Will your clients or customers have the intended result by the end of that course or program? Can you guarantee that?
Step 3: Deliver on your promise
This is a key thing - deliver on your promise.
If you're guaranteeing they’re going to make a million dollars by the end of your 30-day course, you better make sure they can do that. If you’re guaranteeing they're going to have a plan or a blueprint filled in for how they're going to increase their marketing, their sales, their confidence, whatever it may be, if you can guarantee they're going to get to the end and be able to do or have what you say they can, then by all means, go and offer. It's that easy.
If by chance your customer or client doesn't have that intended result, what are you going to do about it? If they don't have the intended result, and they’ve done all of the work to get there. We have to be responsible for it.
If a client says to you, “Oh, I didn't get the result you promised.” Look at their progress. If they didn't do the work. They didn't fill in the activities and didn't attend the sessions. Of course, they didn't get the result. They didn't go through your process. They didn't finish it.
If they did all the work, if they went through the program, and they didn't get the intended result, what would you do about it? Will you offer to support them on-on-one until they have that result? Will you let them go through the program again? Will you give them a refund? What's your guarantee if they don't get the results? If you commit to making it right then you can offer.
Now, one thing with your customers too, as you develop a new program, you need to manage the expectations of your customers, you need to be very transparent about where you're at with the development. For example, I'm often on Kickstarter. I'm supporting businesses that are starting out. One product I backed about a year and a half ago and I still don't have the product. However, they give me updates every month or so about where they're at with it and why it's not ready. I appreciate their transparency and communication.
Also, in the beginning with my VA Made Easy program, I said to the first eight clients, “Okay, we're going to figure it out as we go. I'm going to put all my effort in, and I'm going to give you the process I see best at this time, but things will probably change.” Now that I have 38 clients in the program who are using my virtual assistants, I've said to them, “Some Modules will be recorded again.” I keep communicating clearly about what's happening. As I learn more, the program grows.
The way you offer something in the early stages might then be different later on because of unforeseen issues, new learnings, and an evolving process. My Dynamic You program started off as a 45-minute workshop. It’s now a four-week program with modules, group coaching sessions, or it's a one-day live event with pre and post-sessions. It also became a retreat. There are many different ways I've been offering this over the years in order to give even better results, a more powerful experience and deeper impact.
Step 4: Get feedback and testimonials
As you go through your program or course, get that feedback and get testimonials.
How have I been able to do that? Here's the key: gather feedback along the process. Gather feedback from those early customers. This will help you to be able to develop that product or service over time. It also ensures that what you're offering is meeting the needs and the expectations of those customers or clients who purchase from you.
Step 5: Do it again
Do it again. You’re not done. Do it again. Offer it again. Unless it's absolute garbage, you're going to offer it again. You're going to make the changes, and you're going to offer it again.
For anyone who’s sitting there and saying, “I have to prove myself to everyone”, trust me, in every level you get to, you'll feel like you need to prove yourself at that new level.
I don't know how many times I bought things online or from people, and I haven't asked their background. I haven't asked how many courses they've taken or how many certifications they have.
I just look at the offer, and ask myself if I think they can take me from point A to point B faster than I can take myself, easier than I can take myself, and less painful than if I did it myself? If I see they can do that for me, great I buy itt. If they don't deliver on it, then well, I'm going to have a plan to recoup my time, energy, and money.
When you follow the 5 Steps, your clients/customers will be getting a great product from you and your expertise. So don't delay. Jump out there and put your offer out within the next 30 days. Give yourself a timeline. If you don't give yourself a timeline, it won't happen.
If you are thinking that this is, “Ok Diane, but I want to write a book”. Same thing. You don't need to prove yourself to anyone or everyone. How are you going to put a book out and already have social proof you’re a great author? It goes for everything that you do. You just need to step into it and make it happen.
I'm curious, what's the thing you're going to put into the world? Leave me a comment. Let me know.
If you're still feeling like you could really use some support to make this happen, why don't you reach out to me and we'll have a conversation. You can just email me, firstname.lastname@example.org. We'll have a chat, and see how I can better support you to achieve your goals. If it’s putting a course out, definitely. I have a lot of lean strategies, a lot of efficiencies around getting it out there. If you want my team to help you put it out there, my virtual assistant team can make that happen.
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