What we’re talking about today is a pretty controversial topic. It has created a huge stir amongst the women of my program called Get With the Program. This is a course where I teach course creation, and I actually shared this conversation with them and a bit of training on this.

I was basically saying that for some of you, course creation’s not where you should be focusing right now. What we were talking about is this idea that when you first start a business, you have a choice of either starting with one-to-one and then doing courses and group programs further down the track if you want to (or you can stay one-to-one forever). Or you could jump in and just start selling courses straight away.

What I want to answer is this: What are the pros and cons of skipping the one-to-one part, and just jumping straight into creating online courses?

Here for the links referenced in the show notes? 

Take Off program: tashcorbin.com/takeoff

It sounds easier – it sounds like it’s a much sexier business model. And so a lot of people do jump in and they don’t want to work with people one-on-one at all. It actually can mean that their business doesn’t take off as quickly.

I want to have a conversation about that, and that’s what we’re going to do today.

Let’s get started!

There are two ways that this conversation usually comes up:

1. ‘Do I really need to??’

Someone will post into a Facebook group or they’ll ask me this question, ‘Do I really need to sell one-to-one work? Can’t I just sell courses? I want to work with people in groups, it’s much easier for me. I feel like I don’t have to work as hard. I’ve got limited time I want to make money really quickly. And so I think courses is going to be the best strategy for me.’

I totally get it! Long term, it’s very hard to visualise a million dollar business only working with people one at a time. It’s very hard to visualise yourself changing thousands of people’s lives working with people one at a time.

I totally get it ! And courses was definitely on my agenda when I first started my business as well.

What I want to say to that is absolutely you don’t have to do the one-to-one stuff first.

It’s totally up to you how you want to do it.

I’m going to share with you seven things that you might actually be missing out on if you do that though.

I do think that it’s totally doable, and yes, I have helped some people jump straight into the group stuff. But I wanted to answer this fundamental question and I want you to make a decision based on information and being informed rather than resistance to something that’s unknown and that you are making assumptions around it not being sustainable for you.

That’s the first way it comes up – when people say ‘Do I really have to do this?’

2. ‘It’s not working!!’

Someone will post and say, ‘I’ve done all the work, done all the promos, I’ve launched three times, I’m making no money from my business and I’m getting no attraction. Why is this not working?’

When I ask them, ‘What are you selling right now? What’s working in your one-to-one work?’, inevitably, they’re like ‘I am trying to sell a course. I didn’t really do that well with one-to-one, so I’ve jumped into causes. My target market can’t afford to work with me one-to-one, so I’m only promoting courses.’

For most of these people, what they need to do is move back to one-to-one, or make sure that they’ve got business foundations that are solid which normally would be done when you start with a one-to-one model.

Here are the seven things that you might be missing out on, and therefore need to create in other ways, if you skip working with people one to one first in your service-based business:

1. Early proof of concept

If you jumped straight into promoting courses in programs, then you haven’t had that time proving that people are willing to pay money for the solution that you are offering – for the solution to the problem that they have.

When you go out and promote your services one-to-one, you can be hyper flexible. There are so many different ways that you can talk about what you’re offering depending on your audience at the time. You’re able to change up your wording and your messaging, you’re able to the price points, etc. You can be hyper flexible and work out what sells, where your peeps are hanging out in and prove that people are willing to pay for this.

People are willing to spend money to get that service.

If you cannot sell one to one sessions at $295, you’ll never sell a course at $295 on the same topic, because people will always assume that the best way to get the outcome is to work with you one-to-one because then you can deal with individual circumstances and they get that attention.

If you can’t sell it as a one-to-one service, it’s going to be really hard to sell it as a great program.

That proof of concept when you’re first starting a business is super easy to achieve when you’re working with people one-to-one.

If you jump straight into courses and programs, you’re jumping straight into launch because the only way to prove it is to get people to pay you money.

You can’t prove the concept by asking groups if they’d like to pay $195 to do your course because there is a huge difference between people saying that they’d pay for it and actually paying for it.

That’s two very different situations and different ways to prove your concept.

When you decide to go and launch a course or program, you’ve got 3-6 weeks (in most cases) of being in launch, sharing the work, doing the webinars and doing the lead magnets, before you even ask for the sale and start to see if people are purchasing.

If you’ve been launching for five weeks and you’ve had two lead magnets come out and no one has bought your course, what’s not working?

Is it because:

  • You don’t have enough reach?
  • You’re not reaching the right people?
  • Your messaging is off?
  • You haven’t developed and communicated your value proposition more effectively?

You don’t know!!!

It’s really hard to experiment with a group program. It’s like trying to turn the Queen Mary on one rudder.

Whereas turning and pivoting when you’re working one-to-one with people, is like turning in a jet boat – you’re so flexible and you can really refine your messaging and your approach, and you can show up and get that proof of concept quickly.

This is just one of the seven sexy things that you might be missing out on by jumping straight into online courses in group work rather than working with people one to one first.

You can see that there’s some big stuff that we’re going to be talking about here.

2. Building your tribe

When you’re working with people one-to-one and you’ve got that jetboat flexibility and you can pivot and turn quickly, then you’re building people based on conversations.

It’s usually one-to-one or one-to-a-few-people. You might run a webinar to promote your one-to-one services and get a bunch of people in… But you’re refining and pivoting as you go and you’re building a tribe based on connection.

They’re going to be much more connected to you, they’ll be much more clear on what it is that you do and what you offer, and you’re starting to really build that momentum.

When you jump straight into a course, as I said, if you’ve got the wrong concept or you’ve got your messaging wrong, you might have a tribe of 200 people that you’ve just built, but none of them purchase from you.

They’re actually not your ideal clients, because you didn’t get that proof of concept first.

There are a lot of benefits to actually having that tribe building happen first, and then making those offers and being flexible with that tribe, rather than trying to jump into this big momentum building for courses and programs. Particularly with the money side of it.

When you’re selling online courses and programs, usually the price point is a little lower because it’s a group program. It’s not that one-to-one thing, it’s not necessarily a VIP experience for people, and so you need to make a lot more sales in order to get the same amount of money as if you were to sign up three VIPs.

You’d probably have to get 20 people to sign up for an online course or program to get the equivalent income.

You haven’t got that existing pool of people – you haven’t got that tribe – so I highly recommend building a tribe through your one-to-one work first.

3. Confidence in your process

When you’re working with people one-to-one, you’re actually having a two-way conversation with people which is giving you insights into what’s really going on for them.

How to sell online hands typing business start-up

When learning how to sell online, it’s important to create confidence in your process through two-way conversations.

If you think about the two-way conversations that you have out there on social media, they’re very public, they’re usually in groups or they’re on your page, and people are typing and filtering what they’re telling you. This is very different to if you’re having a two-way conversation with someone in a one-to-one session where they’ve paid you for your time.

They’re going to really tell you what’s going on, they’re going to give you the behind the scenes of what’s going on in their business or what’s going on for them personally or with their health, because they’ve paid to work with you as a practitioner and they want your advice on their actual situation.

You start to then build this confidence in your process because if something hasn’t worked or they’ve got a resistance point, they’re going to tell you straight away. They’re going to come back to the next session and go ‘I didn’t do my homework’, and you can work out why they are getting stuck in that step in your process.

Whereas if you go out straight away and you’re selling an online course or program, you’re doing it based on theory – you haven’t actually taken people through this process before.

When you do it one-to-one, you’re proving it.

You can take people through that process one-to-one, see where they get stuck and you’ve actually got some results to draw upon. You know with 100% confidence that if they follow the five steps that you’ve taken 30 people through before, then they are going to end up with a great result.

Think about it: To what extent do you actually have that beautiful confidence in your process right now?

When I first launched the Take Off program in which I help people get started in the online business world, I had already helped over 100 women in startup one-to-one. I knew that they had the same barriers and the same issues coming up. I knew the fundamentals that we needed to make sure we got right when we first started working together.

The 12 steps of the Take Off program were based on actual real-life practical examples and I was 100% confident when going out and selling the program, that you would start making money (you would have $2,000-$4,000 a month coming in in your business) and you would be able to sustainably market your business as well if you jumped into the program and:

  • Did all 12 of the modules
  • Did the process in the right order
  • Reported back to me so we could make sure you’re doing it in the right way

To what extent do you have that confidence in your process?

Nothing creates that confidence like your clients getting actual results.

I want to come back to that building a tribe part as well. Remember how I said it’s a two-way conversation? In this process of building your tribe one-to-one with paying clients and with people in these smaller conversations, that’s also a two-way conversation.

When you go out and launch a course or program, 90% of your messaging and marketing and communications online is one way – it’s broadcast-based communications.

If we look at those first three things you get out of doing one-to-one work, it’s very juicy, rich information. It’s information and feedback that you can make decisions on. It’s highly connected, and it’s very worthwhile for your business.

You need to have a look:

  • Proof of concept – you’re proving that people will pay for this outcome that you think is really important for them
  • Building a tribe based on two-way conversations and getting actual feedback from people in real-time and really having those high levels of connections with those first peeps who are in your tribe.
  • Confidence in your process to take people through the journey from point A to point B

4. Raving fans

Think about those first 10 people that you work with one-to-one and how much they love the work that you do and the outcomes that you’ve achieved for them.

If you go into just launching courses and group programs straight away, where are those existing raving fans who are evangelising your work out there in the online business world?

When I first started my business, my first 10 – 20 clients brought in more clients than I could in the following few months.

They were telling their friends about me, and they were posting in the Facebook groups they were in saying ‘If you’re struggling with getting your messaging right in your business, go and do a session with Tash Corbin. She’ll never be as cheap as she is today! This chick is going to be charging thousands of dollars an hour in the next couple of years. Get in and work with her now!’

Those raving fans came from one-to-one services because I was able to be really present for them, I was really focused on their exact problems and challenges. I wasn’t trying to help 20 people at once all get an outcome from the same generic messaging.

It was bespoke business coaching.

Whether you’re in the health space, the design and marketing space, the business space or the energy workspace, there is something very powerful about being in a room with someone (virtual or in-person), one-to-one, hearing them, seeing them and helping them achieve results.

That person becomes a raving fan!

Then in the future when you go on to launch courses and programs, those raving fans will still be there shouting from the rooftops about the power of your work and how effective you are in the work that you do.

When I launched my first group program, people were saying on my promo posts, ‘I had the absolute awesome benefit of doing this process with Tash one-to-one and I can tell you she is amazing. She knows what business is all about. Jump into this group program! It is so affordable for the quality of business coach that Tash Corbin is.’

Isn’t that a powerful testimonial? An un-asked for, unrequested testimonial that brings in amazing sales of your course or program.

You might just find that spending the next three months just focusing on serving people one-to-one means that when you do go out and do that launch of a course or program, you actually make 10-15 sales without actually having to do that much promo.

That is the power of working with people one-to-one first.

5. Pool of already ready to go people

This was a big one that came up for me when I first started my business.

Once I started charging more per hour for my coaching one-to-one work, I would have people commenting on my promo posts and replying to my newsletters, quite consistently saying, ‘Tash look, I would love to work with you, but I just can’t afford to do it yet. Please can you do an online program or a group program or mastermind or something where it’s going to be a little bit more affordable for me?’

It was so tempting for me to go ‘Yes! I will do that for you!’, but I knew I needed to create sustainability of my income first.

I was kind of lucky that I’d come from a very handsome six-figure salary and I had a very clear goal of what my business income needed to be in order for me to feel like I’d made it.

I needed about 10k a month as a minimum, and I knew that the fastest way to get there was one-to-one, so I focused on that first.

By the time I launched the Take Off program as my first group program, I had six or seven people who had been waiting for that for three-six months.

They were ready, willing and able to go – straight away they were in.

When I think about my first launch of the Take Off program, it involved me sending out three emails to my mailing list (two of which I totally stuffed up the price and I got it totally wrong) and about five posts on social media. And I had 13 people sign up for the first round of Take Off.

If you know how I teach launching today, I was very lucky to get the results that I did.

I put it down to the fact that I had that existing pool of people who were ready to work with me, but actually, they couldn’t work with me one-to-one because of the price point, and so the group program was the way that they could work with me.

Out of the 40-60 people who told me that they were going to jump in the minute I started a group program because they couldn’t afford to work with me one-to-one, only 13 of them signed up.

You can see that even though you probably have had 5 or 10 people tell you that they can’t afford to work with you one-to-one but they would totally work with you in a group program, only a small percentage of them will actually fork out the money once that group program is ready for them to purchase.

By staying in the one-to-one space for a little bit longer and building up that tribe that you have – build your mailing list, build your followers on social media, build those connections – you are creating a pool of people who are just waiting for that group program to be launched.

The longer you wait, the better that launch will be and the more money you can make in the meantime (that’s point number seven, so I won’t jump to that one just yet).

6. Clarity on your message

I do talk about business being a big experiment and it’s all a practice, but there’s only so long you can spaghetti-strategy your message. There’s only so long you can throw stuff out there and see what sticks.

The fastest way to truly refine your message and get deep insight into what your ideal clients want and need from you is actually to have those one-to-one conversations.

I highly recommend avatar interviews and target market research interviews. We do that in the Take Off program and people come back saying, ‘Oh my god, I can’t believe I resisted that for so long!’

But at some point, you need to be paid for those one-to-one conversations.

Do you want to go out and have thirty one-to-one conversations with people for free, just so that you can launch a group program? Or would you rather be paid for those one-to-one sessions?

Get out there and have those one-to-one conversations.

People bring their A-game when they’re paying for your time, and you bring your A-game as well. Why not go out there and offer those one-to-one services so that you can get to what the real issue is for people who are your exact ideal clients?

You can see what they signed up for based on what messaging is on your offer, and then see what the real issue actually is when you get into that one-to-one session with them.

That clarity of message comes at hyper speed when you have lots of one-to-one conversations with people. And why not be paid for them and offer it as a one-to-one service rather than constantly doing interviews or constantly going out and spraying messages all over Facebook and seeing what sticks?

7. MONEY!!

You are missing out on some very sexy income if you skip the one-to-one step.

As I said before, if you can’t sell a $295 package of working with you one-to-one, you’re not going to sell a $295 program.

The fastest way for you to make $1,000 is to go out and sign up one VIP who pays you $1,000 for your time. Whether that be for a three-month package, a full-day intensive, or a six-month package. Whatever it is, that is the fastest way for you to get out and make that money because you only need to find one person.

The fastest way for you to make $5,000 is to sign up 5 VIPs at $1,000 each.

It is NOT to go out and try and sell 10 spots on a $500 group program.

In order to sell 10 spots on a group program, you need 100 people who actually participate in your lead magnet, which usually means you need about 300 people to sign up for it, which usually means you need to get reach of about 30,000 to 100,000 people with the promos of your lead magnet for your group program.

Do you have that? Particularly if you’re not working with people one-to-one and you haven’t got those other things like a tribe, people who are ready willing and able to work with you and your raving fans. If you don’t have those things, you’re looking at cold rates of conversion from reach all the way through to actually purchasing your program.

Industry average conversion rates from cold to signing up to your lead magnet is 0.5%. And from lead magnet to buying your thing is 0.5%.

Think about it: To get one person signed up to your program, you need 200 leads and to have those 200 leads, you need 4000 reach.

It’s just crazy numbers! It’s so difficult to do that.

And yet, you could jump into Facebook groups, make no brainer offers for single sessions with you and end up having beautiful sales conversations with heaps of people that you’re paying to have, and sign up some VIPs.

I have seen people in two weeks from starting their business have their first $1,000 package sold.

That is amazing. That is profitable, lean startup business at its best.

I’ve had people come to planning parties and workshops with me looking to grow their business and they think the way that they need to grow their business is to start leveraging.

What we do is focus down on their one-to-one services and they get the results that they were thinking they’d get in three months for the group programme within a few weeks just by focusing down on those one-to-one services.

I really do believe that the initial sustainability of income in your business is best delivered through one-to-one services.

That’s why we do that in the Take Off program. That’s why I’m so focused on helping people to develop that one-to-one element of their business in that startup phase.

It’s the easiest way to do it and it brings in the most money!

It’s a no brainer to me.

I will always preface all of these comments and these conversations with: You’re the boss, it’s totally up to you what you choose as your business strategy. Different individual circumstances apply.

But at the end of the day, most people are skipping the one-to-one part because they’re making untrue assumptions about what the most effective way to make money in their business is, and what’s going to work the best.

Often they’re also scared of those one-to-one sales conversations and they think that they can skip that somehow in the group program launch process.

It’s actually not true either.

You are the boss, but I want you to think about those seven sexy things that you might be missing out on by skipping the one-to-one stuff. If you still decide to skip one-to-one work, have a think about how you can actually create those seven outcomes before you go into launch.

If you build those seven solid foundations in other ways, you may just be able to skip that one-to-one stuff if it really is important to you.

Have a think about those seven foundations and how you might be able to create them in other ways if one-to-one work just isn’t for you.

That was such a huge rant, but I really needed to get it off my chest.

It’s been a really amazing conversation for us to have in the ladyposse.

Until next time, I cannot WAIT to see you SHINE.

Tash Corbin Business Mentor and Strategist