In today’s episode, I’m going to talk about how to leverage without derailing your existing business.

This is something that a lot of people in my audience are particularly conscious of due to the fact that I often talk about how my first course launch almost broke my business.

Here for the links referenced in the show notes? 

Quick Course Launch:

If you want to make sure that adding leverage to your business model is a net positive result, then this is the perfect episode for you.

Let’s dive in!

As I said, when I first launched my first ever course, the Take Off program, I almost broke my business. I went from $20,000 months, to a $4,000 launch… and then less than $1,000 the month after launch.

I almost broke my business.

Lucky for you, I make mistakes so that you don’t have to!

In this episode, I have five big things for us to talk about to ensure that adding leverage to your business model is going to be net positive, rather than derail your current business trajectory.

I’ll be sharing five pitfalls/potential missteps that can derail your business when you’re adding leverage to your model.

By knowing what they are and having some idea about how to avoid them, hopefully, we will make leveraging a great decision for you moving forward.

Ultimately, leverage is sexy.

Leveraged products are amazing. I am so happy that I have the Take Off program, the Leverage and Launch program and my Accelerator.

They are how I serve the most people, and how I make the most money in my business… but it wasn’t always that way.

We want to make sure, especially if you’re currently making money with one-to-one clients, that we don’t lose that without replacing or exceeding that income.

And we definitely want to make sure we don’t stop the momentum that that is creating for our business.

Strap yourself in! We’ve got five traps to dive into, and I want to make sure that I give you all the information necessary so that you can avoid the mistakes that I made, and make sure that you’re all set and ready to go.

Trap 1: Building your product based on theory

You either do this because you haven’t actually sold anything that delivers that outcome before, or you change your niche when you move into a leveraged product.

The trap that you might fall into is building your leveraged product on theory.

Just so we’re clear, when I say ‘leveraged product’, I mean:

  • Course
  • Membership
  • VIP group program
  • Agency model
  • Books
  • Self-study things

Anything where you can deliver one-to-many is a leveraged product.

Something that I see a lot is where a person is struggling to make one-to-one sales, or they don’t want to work one-to-one forever, so they jump straight into offering group programs or low-ticket offers.

The risk of that is that you haven’t actually got any proof that people will pay you for the outcome that you promise from that leveraged product.

You build it completely based on your assumptions.

If you’re lucky, you might build it based on feedback from your audience. But there’s a big difference between someone saying that they’d buy a membership for X, and someone actually buying that membership once it’s created.

There’s a huge gap between those two things, and it happens a lot.

We don’t want to build a leveraged product on theory.

The way we avoid that situation is to get people to buy something from you that delivers that outcome, without having to pre-build it.

You can go straight into leverage, but build as you go (sell it before you build it).

You can also deliver that outcome one-to-one.

Just start by offering the exact same outcome through a package of one-to-one sessions.

That takes out the theory element.

But then what can happen is people DO sell one-to-one, their VIP packages are a great price, they increase their prices a couple of times, and then once every four sales calls, someone says that it’s out of their budget.

This can cause you to start theorising that there’s another niche of people who aren’t able to invest at that level, so you decide instead to deliver a different outcome at a different level for a different investment.

But you haven’t actually proven that those people will pay for that outcome.

When it comes to moving from a one-to-one model into adding leverage to your model, my advice is to keep it in the same niche.

And the promise should be the same outcome.

leverage with what you know

Get proof of concept before you leverage.

The reality is that some people would rather invest in working with you one-to-one to get that outcome, and other people would prefer a group program to get that outcome. But it’s the same outcome.

I did a Facebook Live talking about this recently, and the amazing Janet Willis was on that call.

Janet is a personal trainer and does both one-to-one personal training and also has a leveraged model (a group program). But Janet is building an online business.

In her online business, she’s currently working one-to-one with people in a high-touch VIP intensive. In that, she focuses on helping people with their nutrition, mindset and movement.

For those people, their goal is to lose weight. It’s to fit into the jeans that they used to be able to fit into five years ago.

Janet might decide based totally on theory, that the people who want to work with her in an online group program only want exercise classes. That’s their goal – they just want to squeeze in exercise in little pieces in the day.

Janet could assume that she just needs to build this exercise program as a leveraged product.

But she actually doesn’t have any proof that online clients think that investing in a program that will help them squeeze exercise into their day is a good idea. Nor has she got any proof that people will pay for that.

Rather than build on theory, we want to build on proof.

There are thousands of ways to get proof of concept before you leverage.

But a lot of people ignore all of those ways and simply decide that they know what their audience wants, what will help get them to their goal, and what their objections will be.

They just build everything based on theory.

That is where they might get themselves into trouble.

When this happens, you’re pre-building your leveraged product completely based on theory. You’re doing a bunch of work writing a sales page, creating modules, writing sales emails, and building your webinars based on your assumptions and theories.

You have no proof yet!

Then you put a few months into launching, you roll out your two lead magnets, and you do this big launch… What happens if you make no sales?

All that time, all that energy, all that building is for nothing.

What happens if you make one sale at $97? Do you run that group program for one person at $97? Do you delay the launch?

There are ways that we can recover from that, but the trap that they fell into that caused the need to rescue something was that it was all built on theory.

That’s the first trap that I see – you build on theory.

Trap 2: Pricing dysmorphia

Any kind of dysmorphia is your perception not matching reality.

For a lot of people, their main driver for wanting to create a group program is they’ve had a bunch of people tell them that their VIP package is too expensive.

They have these beliefs that aren’t necessarily real perceptions, that their audience needs something super cheap. The cheaper, the better.

They’re making assumptions about what their audience is willing to invest. They’re making assumptions about how much people can afford to spend. They are making assumptions about the value that people apply to things.

Those perceptions are not real. It is dysmorphic.

Again, let’s talk about online exercise classes.

You might make the assumption that the best thing for your ideal client is going to be the cheapest thing.

You create this membership for $25 a month where they get to come to five classes if they want to. There are two classes on nutrition, three classes on exercise, and a bonus mindset piece every single month.

You might assume that that is going to be the best option because you’ve got all this pricing dysmorphia. But in fact, you have been collecting this amazing audience of people who feel that the most valuable transformation that could experience would be you getting them from where they are to where they want to be in the shortest time possible.

Joining your $25-a-month membership consciously and subconsciously says to your audience that they’re going to have to be doing this for a very long time in order to get the result.

Whereas if you offered a 12-week program, it’s clear that in 12 weeks, your audience is set up, ready, and done.

See the difference?

Don’t make your decisions based on pricing dysmorphia.

I have been in group programs before where I wish they had tripled the price and doubled the attention that I got.

People build these things and try to make them as cheap as possible.

That’s actually not what your audience wants.

If they see the transformation that you facilitate as valuable, then they will invest in that transformation.

Your assumptions about it needing to be as cheap as possible will often result in you creating something that doesn’t always deliver the outcome quickly and effectively.

You’re trying to do it in the most passive and leveraged way possible because you’re not being paid enough to deliver on it.

Rather than build based on a price point you’re trying to work towards, instead, get very clear on:

  • Your niche
  • The outcome that they are wanting to invest in achieving
  • The best way to deliver on that outcome for your audience

And then price accordingly.

When you first build your leveraged product, you might think the best way to deliver it is to have X amount of sessions as well as some extra little things. But then when you price it, you realise that it’s actually not a realistic price point for your market.

You might need to scrub some of that out, but ultimately, people are buying for the transformation.

They’re not buying for the number of modules. They’re not buying for the number of live calls with you. They are not buying for the number of bonuses or workbooks that go into your leveraged product.

In most cases, more content equals more work.

More bonuses equal more work in order for me to get from where I am to where I want to be.

When you create a leveraged product, pricing dysmorphia can sometimes mean that you run to the lowest common denominator. You’re running down to the cheapest price possible and not to the best or fastest outcome possible.

Pricing dysmorphia can also mean that you don’t have the capacity, time or build required to actually deliver on the result as well.

Trap 3: Focusing on self-drivers only

I see this so much.

People are saying, that they need to create a leveraged product because they don’t have enough time and can’t take on any more one-to-one clients.

They say, “I need to increase my income levels, I need to have something scalable, I cannot be doing sales calls anymore”. I this, I that, and so on.

That’s totally fine if that is one of your drivers for moving into a leveraged model. But that cannot be the only thing that is helping you make decisions about your leverage. Why? Because you start to lose sight of the benefits of working with you in a leveraged way for your clients.

Some clients would much prefer to work with you in a one-to-one way and they’re willing to pay a premium to be able to do that. But some of your clients actually will get a better result if they work with you in a group.

It’s not just about you, it’s also about your audience.

I had someone come to me and say that they HAD to create a membership because they couldn’t keep launching their thing. They wanted people to keep paying them month-on-month without them ever having to do a launch again.

Think about all of the risks that you’re taking on board when that is the blinkered reason why you’re picking that model.

The risk that you’re eventually going to face with a membership is that memberships need consistent new members in order to survive and thrive.

What happens when after your first or second month of running a membership, you have a couple of people who want to cancel their membership?

You are going to resent them so crazily. And you’re going to end up back at square one.

It’s not just about your self-drivers.

There are reasons why a leverage model is a better option for your audience, and different leverage models suit different audiences and deliver in different ways.

Think about your drivers for wanting to leverage… But also think about what’s in it for your audience if you leverage.

It’s not just a matter of you saying that you’ll be less stressed so you’ll be able to do a better job. What is definitely in it for them?

Sometimes it’s about making it more cost-effective for your audience to invest in working with you.

Sometimes there are more benefits to working with you in a group because of the access to the rest of the group members. And sometimes there are more benefits to your audience because it means that they can get from where they are to where they want to be faster because they’re not waiting for the next session with you. Instead, they can just go and churn through the video modules and get themselves to the end.

Some people learn better when they can stop, rewind and play it again. Some people learn better when they can listen to something over and over again.

Don’t just focus on your reasons for leveraging.

The other reason why this is important to me is because I see so many people out there promoting group programs as though they’re apologising.

They’re saying over and over again that they got so busy that they don’t have any choice but to only offer a group program.

It’s almost like you’re justifying offering a group program instead of seeing the value in a group program for your audience.

Your messaging becomes quagmire in selfish reasoning that somehow comes across as apologetic but also just reminds us that you only did it for you.

Is that really going to help you get more sales and have people excited to do this program with you? I don’t think so.

Don’t just focus on your drivers and reasons for leverage. Think about what’s in it for your audience as well, and build for their benefit.

Trap 4: Leveraging to disconnect from sales

I know, I know, I know – sales in your sleep is the reason why most leverage gurus and launch gurus tell you that you should have a leveraged product in your business. You can make sales in your sleep!!!!!

(Side note: you can also sell VIP packages in your sleep. I’ve had VIP clients pay their invoices while I was sleeping. That’s totally a thing!)

This idea makes you think that if you have a group program or if you have a membership, your website will do the selling for you. Your emails will do all the selling for you. Your pre-recorded webinar will do all the selling for you and you’ll never have to have a sales conversation again.

However, when you’re first creating a leveraged product, the one-to-one connection that you have with your audience in that sales process gives you all of the information and insight that you need to convert them into a paying client and make sure that your launch assets (like sales pages and emails) have the information in them that people need in order to make an informed decision about whether they want to buy from you or not.

The first launch of your group program is going to be built a little bit on theory.

You’ll have some proof of concept from what you’ve sold before or from people signing up for your waitlist. But ultimately, you’ll have to make a near enough guess of the key:

  • Touchpoints you need to cover
  • Messages that will help people understand exactly what’s included
  • Messages on what the promise is and what you’re going to achieve together
  • Value proposition and the before and after

You can map all of that out based on what you know of your audience and your theories.

But you might have something on your sales page (such as one little sentence) that drives away a large percentage of people because it leads them to believe your leveraged product isn’t right for their business.

You don’t know who all those people are that didn’t end up buying. And you cannot ask them why they haven’t purchased.

You have no further access to them unless you retarget them with Facebook ads using your pixel. (Heaven knows how crazy the pixels are now with the iOS 14 update, but we won’t go down that path.)

When you disconnect from the sales process too early, you lose all of the insight and information that you need to make sure you get good conversion rates.

When it comes to the first few times that you leverage, I actually recommend that you don’t disconnect from sales.

I recommend you stay connected in that sales process.

Allow people to book a quick chat with you to talk about the program, invite people to send you emails, and do live lead magnets and live webinars (don’t pre-record it and pretend it’s live).

Get in the room with your people. The questions that they ask, the reasons that they say that it’s not the right fit for them, and the way that they look when you mention something will give you an insight into what your assumptions are and what they need to know and don’t need to know in order to make a decision to buy.

A great example of this is that on the sales page for the Take Off program, I used to talk on and on about startup. Startup, startup, startup. 

The number one question I got in the first few launches was people saying that they weren’t technically in startup, but they hadn’t had any clients from their online business, so they weren’t sure if the program was for them.

If I didn’t have the connection with those people in that first launch, then they would have looked at the sales page (because that’s all they would have had to go on), thought to themself that that program isn’t for them because they’ve been in business for 20 years (but haven’t had any clients online), and just disappeared.

They would never have purchased the program.

But because I had outreach emails that invited people to reply, and because I ran live webinars and had Q&A sessions on my Facebook page, I got all of these questions and I could see that even though I was talking about starting up with online business, people assumed that it wasn’t for them because they saw the word startup.

I was able to adjust my sales page to say ‘If you’re not yet getting clients from online channels, this is going to be a program for you’.

I could even add that to my FAQ section to address that straight away.

If someone is in that situation, then that’s really going to connect with them. That’s going to help them to overcome that objection.

I would rather have some connection in the sales process and know what people’s objections are than to have a sales page have hundreds and hundreds of visitors, and all these people disappearing and I don’t know why they didn’t buy it.

Yet, so many people would prefer it the other way around.

This is because we don’t want to face up to the rejection.

We don’t want to have to actually make the pitch. We don’t want to have to do the selling part of it.

But that is the part that gives you the information that you need for the automated sales process to actually work.

Especially in the first few rounds, keep connected in that sales process.

Trap 5: Killing your cashflow

This is the one that I did…

When I launched the Take Off program, my VIP package was $2,500.

It only took me a couple of hours to get a $2,500 sale.

It took me about 20 minutes, five days a week to post on social media and connect with my audience, I would send out my newsletter, and I’d have sales conversations.

That’s how I made my sales.

It did not take me a lot of time to be able to do that.

I didn’t have complex sales funnels. Once a month I started running webinars once I got that proof of concept of what people were buying from me.

But it was really quite simple and straightforward for me to make that one-to-one sale.

In a few hours, I can have a $2,500 sale.

But of course, I did get to the point where I didn’t really want to take on any more one-to-one clients, so I created the Take Off program.

In the first launch of theTake Off program (which cost $398 early bird and $598 full price), I was working with a very well-known launch mentor, and they made it sound like people will just buy it because it’s a course and it’s going to be amazing.

There was not a lot of insight into conversion rates and lead magnets.

When I first launched the Take Off program, I honestly thought 50 people or more would buy it. 50 people or more! That’s why I priced it that way.

If I made 25 sales at $398 and 25 sales at $598, then that would equal around a $20k launch.

Then in the next launch, I thought I’d get 100. And then 200… because that’s how easy those people made it sound.

When my first launch had 13 sales and I made about $4,000 that month, I was a little stuck.

Not only that, I’d been telling many people that I wasn’t going to be taking on any more one-to-one clients, and the only way to work with me was in my group program.

I dried up all those one-to-one sales. AND my launch didn’t go as well as I thought it was going to go.

Once the launch was over, I was deep in delivering to the Take Off program students because I ran live calls every week for that group as Q&As. The next month, I had an $800 income month.

I killed the cashflow in my business.

It took me four months to get back to a five-figure month in my business.

It was four months of work.

Then I thought I’d make another group program… and I did it again! I killed the cashflow again.

As I said, I make mistakes so that you don’t have to.

We want to be very mindful of cashflow when it comes to moving into a leveraged product in your business.

There are two ways we can do it…

1. We can make sure we’ve got definite proof of concept and that we know predictably what your income will be from the launch. There are ways that we can do that so that you know what your launch income is going to be.

2. Before you go into leverage, make sure that you’ve built up a buffer of business savings so that it will hold you steady if that launch doesn’t perform as expected.

We have all these assumptions that if we can get 10 people to buy at $2,500, then surely we can get 100 people to buy at $250.

That’s not true. It’s just not true.

Supply and demand like that don’t correlate.

When I go out and do a launch of a $500 product, I get around the same conversion rate as when I launch the Take Off program at $2,500.

The same conversion rate!

The price point is very different.

Price is not the main driver of decision-making the way that we think it’s going to be the main driver.

What happened for me was I was converting 60% of sales conversations into VIP work with me at $2,500.

I thought that if I could get a 60% conversion into a $2,500 offer, then surely I could get a lot more than that into a $398 offer…. But it was completely different.

Launch conversion rates are different to one-to-one conversion rates.

Just be mindful of your cashflow. Don’t make assumptions about your audience’s desire to buy a lower ticket item, or your audience’s belief in the value of working with you in a leveraged way.

We just want to do as much as possible to get proof before we move forward.

Prove before you move. Nail before you scale.

They are my five traps to watch out for when looking at how to leverage without derailing:

1. Building based on theory
2. Pricing dysmorphia
3. Focusing on your own drivers only
4. Disconnecting from sales
5. Killing your cashflow

With all that being said, I don’t want this to put you off leverage.

Leverage is sexy! Working in a leveraged way is amazing.

When you’re conscious of how it works, you can snowball so quickly and you can get to the point where your group stuff outperforms your one-to-one stuff in terms of cashflow.

You can get to the point where you’re making tens of thousands of dollars.

But it doesn’t often come in the first launch, and if you put that kind of pressure on the first launch, you sometimes make the launch worse off than it would have been if you’d taken the pressure off it.

I’ve got some great news for you!

Coming up very soon, I’m going to be running a live workshop called the Quick Course Launch.

In that free workshop, I show you how you in just two weeks you can create and launch a leveraged product in your business.

Two weeks!

If you’re wondering how to leverage quickly this training will be perfect for you.

The Quick Course Launch will be run live on Wednesday 26th of October at 10am AEST.

Register for this free workshop on how to leverage here: CLICK ME

Happy leveraging!

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

Tash Corbin Business Mentor and Strategist