If you follow me on Facebook, you probably saw my recent facebook post about the ah-ha's that I had on my Thanksgiving drive. Ah-ha's that led to some of the changes I'm making in 2019.
Changes that I believe will benefit you in a BIG way.
Essentially, I'm creating a free learning library for creative entrepreneurs that's stocked with some of my best and most important programs. I'm also changing how I do coaching, and raising rates on a few offers. In light of all the changes, December will be the LAST time I'll open up my monthly A-Club training to the public.
I had planned a lengthy post about all the reasons current marketing and sales models are effective yet broken, but the truth is that you already know that and/or have experienced it intimately. Instead, I'm going to cut to the chase and tell you what I'm doing to change that dynamic in my own work.
Every year, I put a lot of thought into how my business can be of better service - to my audience and to myself. After all, if the business doesn't work for who you are and how you best show up in the world, it will leave you feeling frustrated, resentful, overwhelmed, and generally burned out about the whole thing. So why bother?
The nexus between serving your best clients and serving your own needs is where the gold is for any creative entrepreneur... including me!
I'm lucky to be able to do a lot of what I love. Incubator applications doubled this year and we were able to add a few new clients, which thrills me. Growing this piece of the business proves to me how much this kind of support is needed (and valued) in the world. I want it to be available to more people. That means it can't all rest on me. I've experimented with adding support staff this year with mixed results. I also had a lot of people apply who simply weren't qualified for the help we provide. I referred most of them out to other programs or services, yet in my heart, I knew there was a way I could help them, if I wasn't already spread so thin.
I also want to do other things besides the Incubator. I'm working on Album #4 and another book. My Grand Vision is to have a full-fledged production company at some point, so I started testing the waters this year with smaller publishing projects. 2019 will see the addition of our hybrid publishing division, and that means I've got to free up my time to put some focus there.
So it's time for change. Here are a few things I'll be doing (or doing differently) in 2019
#1. I'm creating a free learning library.
I want 2019 to be the year of more income - not just for me, but for all creative entrepreneurs. One of the ways I'm doing that is by re-structuring my business to give more free training to the folks who need it most. Most of these early stage entrepreneurs have no money - or should think twice about investing what little they do have in anything. The number one goal of Early Struggle is to get out of it as fast as possible... before the funding runs out. There's an ethics issue that's always bugged me about encouraging an audience with little to no financial means to "sell their cat" in order to work with you. No joke. I actually heard someone say that once in their sales pitch.
Not me. Not ever. Ick.
I can't feel good about selling to struggling entrepreneurs anymore because their money is better left "on the table" and in their pockets, so to speak, to pay the rent, buy food, and take care of themselves.
But I have dozens of training programs designed for this audience. That material is still relevant and as important as it ever was, but it never sees the light of day because there's no ROI in trying to sell it.
So I'm not going to sell it anymore. I'm going to put it in my free learning library.
Let me be clear... I'm not watering them down or offering "samples" from the program as part of some "launch" strategy. These are the very same courses others have paid hundreds of dollars for. Programs that have helped people make good money doing what they love. Programs that are all suitable for someone in Early Struggle - a time when spending as little money as possible can be the difference between surviving and crumbling.
I don't NEED to charge for these programs. It's liberating to say I can afford to give away access to these programs. That's always been one of my goals - to provide real help and training for the creatives of the world so that they can stop being starving artists and make good money doing what they love. So yes, it is partly a marketing experiment, sure. It is also an effort to "put my money where my mouth is" when it comes to leveling the playing field for marginalized and disadvantaged people who need real help to get their dreams launched.
I want more people to have access to that knowledge - and I don't want money to be a barrier.
Yeah, I hear you say "How is giving it away going to help you have more income, Lisa?"
I have several paid offerings that support my company and provide me and my team with an income. Incubator, as I mentioned, is growing. So is A-Club, and with the changes to that program, I see it becoming an even stronger revenue stream. My books, CD's, and live event are also part of my revenue model. So I have plenty of stuff for sale, and my theory is that when these folks have learned and implemented all they can from the learning library, and they're financially ready to make an investment, they'll think of me first.
2. Some rates are going up, too
Rates for all programs related to personal coaching are going up. I just raised the Incubator minimum retainer. A-Club is probably going to double. Individual coaching rates are going up and I'm exploring doing group coaching for the first time. Bluntly, there's a LOT you can accomplish without the need for a personal coach. And when you're stuck to the point that you need personal help, I know I'm pretty damn good and worth every penny. My time is more precious to me than ever before, and one of my 2019 goals is to be able to take an entire month off during the summer to be with my family. So I'm raising my rates to compensate me for my time and the opportunity cost of investing that time with you.
I have often said that when you charge more you can afford to be more generous. I teach this to my clients, and I try to model it myself. Higher rates for one-on-one time subsidizes the other company projects, too.
3. I'm adding coaching to A-Club
One of the things that I discovered this year was how much clarity and confidence a person gets from a single session with me. I had a few one-off sessions with my current A-Club clients and they all seemed to make great strides with just a small turn of their key. It got me thinking that I wanted to continue to make this available in a way that worked for me. I can't offer everyone a coaching session every month. What I can do is use private coaching as an incentive to encourage members to stay. Our retention rate averages nearly 2 years, so it feels good to me to encourage people to stick around by spending some one-on-one time with them. Starting in 2019, I'll be offering sessions to A-Club members for every 4 months of enrollment. If you pay for a year in advance, you'll get a bonus session. I don't know any other accountability programs that are offering personal support or guidance to their members. I'm glad to be able to do it for mine. Hint: Get in NOW before the rates go up in 2019!
4. We're launching a hybrid publishing division
I've been behind the scenes on dozens of best-selling book launches. I've self-published two Amazon best-sellers of my own, and brought our first client through the publishing process this year. I've experienced a lot of what works and what doesn't. I'll be using the same pay-for-results model we use with the Incubator to help a few authors get their books out into the world next year. Watch this space for more details and our first call for authors in Spring, 2019.
5. More live events (maybe near you!)
This will be the last year Creative Freedom Live is offered in the current format. The current format will become the Creative Freedom Client Retreat in 2020, and I'm taking Creative Freedom Live on the road. Local, one-day events across the country to reach more creative entrepreneurs where they live. The actual events won't start happening until 2020, but tickets will go on sale in 2019. I'll also be doing more speaking, performing, interviews and guest appearances/posts.
6. Scholarships are (still) available
I've always had scholarships for all my digital programs. That's not changing. I just wanted to make mention of it. If there's a digital program you want to attend, contact me. We'll work together to come up with a scholarship plan that works for both of us.
Those are the coming attractions at Creative Freedom HQ. Again, I can do this because I can AFFORD to do it. Not everyone can, and not everyone should. And maybe after 2019, I'll change my mind. But for now, it's game on.