It’s time for another Q&A episode of the Heart-Centred Business Podcast!
Today we’re talking about creating multiple income streams and using evergreen funnels.
I’m so excited to talk about this one, it’s an amazing question from an amazing lady.
Let’s dive on in!
Romina’s question is:
“I’ve been wondering how I can go about identifying the elements of my work that can be turned into evergreen courses (I’m a writer and content creation coach) and what other ways I can start to build multiple income streams that are relevant to my work. Thank you!”
You are so welcome Romina – I’m really excited for us to have this conversation.
Before we dive into looking at evergreen content, funnels, and having multiple income streams, we want to make sure that we’ve got a business value proposition that has been proven. We also want to make sure that we know how to reach and convert clients from online spaces in a high connection, high conversion way.
The reason why I love this as the first stage of business is that:
1. You are risking less time and a lot less money by proving before you jump into the next stage of business
2. The experience that you have in both selling and delivering to VIP one-to-one clients gives you the information and insight that you need to know about what’s going to sell and work best for clients on an evergreen basis
Stage one of an online service-based business for most people is selling one-to-one and delivering one-to-one.
In selling one-to-one, we’re looking at things like having sales conversations, selling by message, connecting with people in communities and on social media. It’s a very high touch method of making sales.
Then you’re usually delivering your services one-to-one.
For Romina (she’s a writer and content creation coach) she’d be doing that on a one-to-one basis with people.
The second stage of business, if you’re choosing to go through it in this model, is selling one-to-many while still delivering one-to-one.
This is a stage of business that so many people skip, and unfortunately, it means that when they jump into selling and delivering one-to-many, the thing that they’re selling doesn’t work at scale, and the sales process doesn’t work for them because they’ve not learned how to sell at scale yet.
What I would recommend in the second stage of business is selling one-to-many, but still delivering one-to-one.
What this means that what you can start doing is selling at scale without having to change your delivery model.
When you start selling one-to-many and delivering one-to-one, this is where you can increase your prices, start taking on waitlists, and solidifying that you know how to sell your VIP products and services without needing to have a one-to-one conversation with people every time.
That’s where you’re learning to sell via evergreen funnels into VIP work.
That’s where you’re learning to sell via one-to-many strategies like email marketing, running evergreen webinars, having evergreen lead magnets, and all of those sorts of things where it’s not as high touch, high connection, but you’re still making the sale.
This is where I see a lot of people really miss out on a fabulous opportunity to create exponential growth in their income in a way that is not high touch, high conversion.
If you don’t yet have your one-to-one services selling at scale, the first place I would start for evergreen funnels is NOT in selling evergreen courses, it’s actually in selling your VIP services.
The question I have is…
Do you have evergreen ways that people can come into your business, go through a process and convert into paying clients with you through your existing one-to-one services? If not, start there.
If you have a webinar that you run, and when you run that webinar, you know you get five inquiries and three of them turn into VIP clients, why not put that webinar into an evergreen free training that people can access? Really work on refining the follow-up email sequence, and let’s see if you can get that selling without you needing to have that high connection, high conversion, high touch process with those leads.
It’s kind of a hard truth, but the truth is that if you can’t sell something at scale that you know how to sell one-to-one, then selling something NEW at scale will mean that you’ll have two things that you don’t know how to do yet.
By using this extra layer in your business growth process, what you’re doing is giving yourself an opportunity to learn how to sell at scale without having to change the product or service.
If that evergreen funnel isn’t working, you know the problem is NOT the product, price or messaging, because when you sell one-to-one, it works.
You can then have confidence in refining that evergreen sales process, knowing that the only thing you’re messing with is the marketing – you’re not messing with the product or service.
Then once you’ve got that working, I recommend jumping into the leverage and launch phase of business.
This is where you start to sell and deliver one-to-many.
At this stage of business, you might jump into selling a group program, VIP membership or a mastermind. You can have some low ticket items as well for sure, but I recommend in the first instance taking a launch-based approach to that selling process. There’s a reason why I recommend this across all industries…
The conversion rate for a live launch is always outperforming the conversion rate of an evergreen funnel.
What you’re doing when you do a live launch is you’re using high connection marketing processes at scale to work out what’s going to work in terms of getting the sale at scale.
I know for myself, when I run a webinar to sell the Take Off program, that generally converts three to four times higher than when people go through the same webinar, but in a disconnected way in an evergreen funnel.
What I did when I first created the Take Off program, was I always sold via the launch process for the first few launches, and then I looked at what the best performing webinar was for those launches, and I turned THAT into an evergreen sales funnel for the Take Off program.
I tweaked and refined that process to make sure it was getting good conversion rates, and then I could set it on repeat on evergreen and scale up my ad spend into that funnel.
What that meant was that I tested via the live process, and every time I ran the webinars, the questions people asked, the resistance points that came up for people and the places where people might have got stuck in the sales process, was much clearer and much quicker to come to light for me.
The questions were asked live on the call, and I was able to adjust and refine that webinar and that training process so that it was doing its job in delivering great outcomes for people. For the right people, it was a no brainer for them to jump in and join us inside the Take Off program.
The next stage of business is to then get those evergreen sales working at scale.
It’s very interesting to me how many people want to skip through and just get to evergreen funnels.
A lot of the time, we do get lured in by this phrase of ‘multiple income streams’ and ‘diversifying your income’.
I totally understand the desire to add more income streams – especially the low ticket or passive income type model – but for most people who jump straight into that passive income model, they spend more time getting the sale then they would have spent in delivering a live VIP group program. This is because you’re not only selling in a disconnected way, but you’re also delivering in a disconnected way.
Just because the price point is cheaper for something that doesn’t have a live component – an evergreen or self-study product – doesn’t mean the conversion rate automatically goes up.
In fact, a lot of people do make assumptions that if it’s self-study and it’s a low ticket, they’re probably not going to get the results out of it.
It’s not a one and done rule. It’s not a hard and fast rule. If you are looking to really build those income streams and have other ways that people can work with you, then for me, the first thing to look at is:
What stage of business are you in?
Have you really nailed that stage of business?
Are ready to move into the next stage of business?
Having a cheaper ticket item or an evergreen funnel will not fix bad niching.
Having a cheaper product or an evergreen sales process will not fix poor messaging or your value proposition.
A lot of people want to bring in these other income streams because they’re not making enough money from their VIP one-to-one services. Actually, what we need to do is FIX the fact that you’re not making enough money from your VIP one-to-one services FIRST.
That problem comes from:
- Not enough effective reach
- Not enough effective messaging
- Messaging not working
- Conversion rates not working
- Lead generation not working
We want to make sure that we’ve addressed all of those things first before we go and add more work to your plate.
Whilst it’s called passive income, I can tell you hand on heart, my lowest cost passive income products are the ones that take the most marketing per sale. My lowest cost passive income products are also the least profitable products in my business.
We see those passive income, low-cost products as such an easy ticket to the easy sale and an easy way to diversify your income streams… but it can actually distract you from profitability.
I’m going to use myself as an example here. I’ve shared very readily that in 2017, I had to really stop and reflect on what I was doing in my business because I had multiple income streams – 36 different products and services that people could buy from me – yet I was working harder to make less money.
When I looked back on my year in 2017, I’d made the most money from selling the Take Off program, yet I hadn’t done a launch of it once in that year.
I’d made over $100,000 worth of Take Off sales without ever doing a launch of it.
If I had just stopped and looked at how I could launch it over and over again and really refine and nail that process, I would have made at least twice as much money in my business that year without doing as much of the work that I do that year.
Some of the products and services that I had were:
- Two different books
- A $29 program
- A $147 program
- The Take Off program which was $1,295 at the time
- A $500 program
- A $1,000 program
- The Heart-Centred Business Conference
- A $19 VIP masterclass – it was like a paid webinar but it was more detailed and a little longer, and I had different topics that I did them on
There were so many different ways that people could work with me.
I had sooooo many products and I diversified my income streams in so many spaces, but actually what I did was I confused my audience, I delayed people from investing in the Take Off program (which was the programme that they really wanted anyway), and I made it a lot more work for myself.
I know that I haven’t gone straight into how to pick what to put into evergreen funnels in this episode, but I wanted to make sure that I wasn’t doing you a disservice by just jumping into this sexy idea of evergreen funnels and passive income products.
There are so many people who get caught in the glowing idea and concept of evergreen courses without really discerning whether it’s the right fit for where they’re at in their business right now, and whether it’s the right fit for their model.
They’re not at the stage where they can be making a conscious decision based on knowing the level of work, effort, energy and money that needs to go into getting those funnels working and making sales at scale enough that they are self-funding and then profitable.
With all of that being said, if you ARE ready now to jump into turning your courses evergreen, the first thing I would say is to take the courses that you’ve got that are working at scale as high touch courses, and make an evergreen version of that or learn how to sell it evergreen where there’s still some connection.
Even though the Take Off program is available for sale evergreen, it also has live calls every single month.
The Take Off program is evergreen. There’s not a live round that people just join twice a year or anything like that, but I do run at least two live coaching calls every single month in the Take Off program… but it’s an evergreen program.
People can join at any time, they do the modules at their own pace, and then they can come to the two live support calls every single month.
There are ways that you can take your high touch VIP programs and make them evergreen without making them self-study or passive.
If you’re then looking at what to put into those passive, low-cost products or evergreen self-study courses, then what I would be looking at is the stage before people come in to work with you as a VIP or come into those high touch programs.
Let’s say as a content creation coach, you have a VIP package where you help people map out their content plan for a launch. They’re in that advanced stage where now they’re really going deep with their content and making it do its job in their business, and they’re looking for support with their opt-ins, their automated sales funnels and their content distribution. What would be the step before they got to being at that stage?
It might be that the step before that is making a decision on what content channels to focus on, and how to get started with those content channels.
You could have an evergreen course on how to:
- Master YouTube as a content channel
- Create and produce your own podcast
- Develop your content model in your business
- Decide which content channels are going to be the best for you, and get started with those content channels
- Develop a content ecosystem or a content process that’s going to attract and convert the right clients
You can see how if they do that evergreen self-study course, implement it and then they start to get consistent, they’re now ready to do the VIP work with you or that more high touch group program with you.
Usually, that is what I would recommend.
The other model is to do it the other way around.
You could also do it as a down-sell evergreen product. You might have some VIP work that you do with people, and then once they’ve completed that VIP work with you, they need some extra training and guidance on how to implement it consistently, or how to get it working like clockwork, or how to distribute it on autopilot.
One of the caveats with that is that you’ve just put a giant big barrier to purchase, in that if they haven’t done the VIP work with you yet, they’re not going to be ready for that.
People often overestimate where they’re at in their journey, so even if they haven’t worked with you, but they think they’re beyond working with you, they just want help with this piece, sometimes people aren’t as ready as they think they are.
Sometimes the completion rates on down-sell model programs or down-sell model courses can be a little lower, and you can have higher refund rates for that model.
You definitely want to be thinking about it from the perspective of what’s going to work best with your model, and also with what your strengths are and what the client journey is for your particular ideal clients.
A final way of identifying the elements of your work that you could be drawing out on, is to look for the patterns amongst your VIP clients.
If you’ve worked with 20 VIP clients over the last six months, you’ll be able to look for what they have in common, and what areas they all tended to get stuck on.
Generally, there are some choose-your-own-adventure pieces where unique problems require unique solutions, but there is a general process that you’re following with people.
Everyone seems to have the same sticking points.
When you start to notice those patterns, you can start playing with a self guided process that can help people work through that problem, because you know where they’re going to get stuck, and you can proactively address those sticking points for people.
Something that I love to do with my VIP clients, is just make sure that I’m keeping track of:
- Where they were when they started
- What their goals were and what they wanted to work on
- What the process was that we went through with them in particular, and look for those patterns and trends amongst those processes
That is how the Take Off program was born.
When people were working with me when I first started my business, they all wanted help with how to market their business, how to get VIP clients, and how to get to that point where they’re making $5,000 to $8,000 a month in their business. That was kind of their first level that they wanted to get to.
Everyone came to me thinking they needed help with their marketing… but what I could see with every single VIP client coming through was that the problem with their marketing was not the platforms that they were using or how they navigated those platforms, it actually came down to their niching, their messaging, and the way that they crafted and talked about the value proposition of their offers.
Then once that was sorted, every marketing strategy we tried worked.
That’s how the Take Off programme was born.
I could see that there was this pattern and these foundations that we needed to work on for everyone. Even though what they were looking for was help with their marketing, what we needed to do for everyone was make sure we got the niche nailed, and we had high touch, high connection ways of really proving that their niche was the right niche for them.
Testing the market, we were able to develop deeply resonant messaging for that specific niche, craft offers that would sell like hotcakes, and that they could articulate the value proposition really effectively. Then they could develop a marketing process that would help them to be able to sell that, and then get to selling that at scale.
Due to the fact that I could see this process was consistent amongst my VIP clients, it was a no brainer for me to then turn it into a group program where I could help people go through that process step-by-step and make those important decisions that they needed to make every step of the way.
I will be 100% honest with you…
When I first created the Take Off program, I thought it was going to be a self-study program. I had no intentions of running live support calls with the Take Off program. It was going to have a Facebook group with it where people could ask me questions there, but one of the first things I noticed when I created the Take Off program was how much people needed to have a conversation about those decisions they were making.
When people decided upon their niche or they started turning their niche points into deeply resonant messaging, people wanted reassurance – they needed some mentoring. Some people were running off in really weird directions, and so it was actually through the creation of the Take Off program that I recognised that when people were going through that process, even though the process was very consistent, what they needed was not a course but a mentor.
I needed to refine and adapt that program to include that group mentoring aspect, where people could have a one-to-one conversation with me in a group environment about their niche decisions, messaging, offers and their decisions on how they were going to go and market their business.
Even the Take Off program was initially intended to be pretty evergreen and pretty self-study. But the content and the journey that people were going through, and the transformation that I was facilitating, needed the mentoring, so I needed to adjust accordingly.
The other thing I would say is when you do decide upon what your process is that you’re going to sell via group program, or you decide that you’re going to create an evergreen product that people can just do on their own, pay attention.
Pay attention not just to how much it sells, but also to the completion rates.
Especially for the first 100 people who go through that process, make sure you’re constantly checking in, surveying them to see where they’re up to, and that you have some connections to make sure people are getting the results, because I know you, like me, want to make sure that when you promise something when people buy a course from you, that people are actually getting those results.
There are way too many programs out there that over-promise and under-deliver, and the course creator is not interested in hearing feedback and doesn’t have a way for people to check-in or let them know that they’re struggling to complete the process.
I think that when it comes to content-based marketing, heart-centred business and the feminine model of business, we want to stay high touch and high connection with people as much as we can in the early stages to prove that following that process on their own still results in the same outcomes as if they had done it with you guiding and mentoring them along the way.
Hopefully, Romina, you have found the answer to that question helpful, and for those of you who are reading along, I hope that you found Romina’s question and my answer valuable as well.
If you have any questions about having multiple income streams or evergreen products and services, I want you to come on over to the Heart-Centred Soul-Driven Entrepreneurs community, use #podcastaha, let me know you’ve been reading episode number 261, and we can continue the conversation there.
Until next time, I cannot WAIT to see you SHINE.