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Pru Chapman
OC Founder + Head Hustler

Pru Chapman is the Founder + Head Hustler at Owners Collective, a dedicated digital community and global online resource hub for early-stage entrepreneurs. Pru gets giddy supporting business owners to create meaningful, sustainable + profitable business. She loves nothing more than bulletproof coffee, her pooch Maverick, andd an empty mountain hiking trail.

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Ever wanted to launch a digital product or online course, but become completely overwhelmed by WHAT exactly to launch? I mean there’s ecourses, ebooks, membership sites, online courses, tech platforms, and so many other digital products BUT they’re not all created equal.

Personally, I’ve tried a bunch of these, and hands down I have found that launching a signature course to be the most powerful for my impact, business model, lifestyle and revenue.

To dive deeper into this and talk us through why signature courses are so incredible, in this episode I interview Stevie Dillon of Stevie Says Social to step us through How to stop swapping time for money and launch a signature online course (*and why it beats any other type digital product*).

Stevie knows the online world inside and out. 

She’s the Founder of Stevie Says Social where she helps women leverage the internet to build online businesses. She’s also the host of the Stevie Says Social Podcast, which has been downloaded 300,000 times, and she’s been featured in the likes of Social Media Examiner, Business Chicks, League of Extraordinary Women, Smart Company and on Channel 7, and was recently named one of the top 150 most influential female founders in Australia by Scrunch.

Let’s dive in….

 

 

Here’s what we cover:

  • What is a signature course and how is it different to other digital products?
  • Why a signature course beats an ecourse, membership or any other type of digital product.
  • Why you need to niche, now.
  • Both Stevie & Pru’s experience with going WAY too broad and how they reigned it back (and what it did for their profit).

Links and resources:

  • You can check out more about Stevie on her website
  • Be sure to follow her on Instagram for extra tips and tricks
  • Be sure that you’re subscribed on Apple Podcasts or Spotify so you don’t miss an episode!
  • If you’re keen for more head over to my other podcast One Wild Ride for a listen
  • Ready to launch & leverage your own gig? Download my free guide to starting and scaling your business over at theownerscollective.com/startandscale

 

Enjoy this episode?

Be sure to be subscribed on Apple Podcasts or if you’re an Android user you can follow on Spotify. While you’re there, I’d LOVE you to drop me a rating and review, as is helps get this podcast into the ears of more fine folks like you.

 

Full Transcript

Pru:

Hey, Stevie. Welcome to the show.

Stevie:

Hello. Thank you so much for having me.

Pru:

It’s an absolute treat. I always get so much, not only joy, but also information every time we connect. I’m really excited to see what’s going to come out of today.

Stevie:

Likewise.

Pru:

Awesome. Awesome. Now, Stevie, you obviously run an online business. You help women build profitable, sustainable online businesses, and you also have the Stevie Says Social Podcast, which offers an incredible amount of value to your listeners. We’ve known each other for quite a few years now, and I’ve just been wholeheartedly on the journey with you right from back in the day when you joined our Launching Legends program, and then just the programs that you’ve launched since, I’m just an avid fan of the podcast. For our listeners, do you want to tell them a little bit more about what you’ve created at Stevie Says Social?

Stevie:

Sure. I will tell you a little bit about the background without going into too much detail. Then, I’ll tell you where I’m headed because I’m at this interesting period at the moment where I’m at the juncture of the old and the new.

Pru:

Yes. I love this.

Stevie:

When I started, I was a social media girl. I went all in on that and I started off in social media management. That’s when I went into Launching Legends and started the podcast. Then, I really built an audience from there without even really realizing that I was doing it and there was no strategy around the way that I did things. But looking back, I can connect the dots and go, “Thank God I did that.” I did that for six months or so before I launched a social media course. I went to Bali for a couple of months, put it all together, which was lovely. Then, launched it. Thankfully because I’ve launched to an audience without even realizing that it was something that I had planned to do, I launched it and sold it out plus some. There were 160 students in the first intake. I had a good, better and best goal and it smashed through my best goal and I was like, “Wow. This is amazing.”

Pru:

A testament to all of your hard work as well because I’ve mentioned this before and that is that one thing that stood out to me right from the beginning of working with you was just how much value you give to your audience. In those early blog posts and then in your podcast, and although it may not have seemed purposeful from the inside, I think your strategy was really about giving value and that built that really solid audience for you just waiting for what else that you had next to come.

Stevie:

Yeah. I never really strategically did this, but I just really didn’t care about giving everything away. I think a lot of people hold their cards close to their chest and they’re like, “I’m going to save the very best stuff for my paid students or for my clients or whoever,” and I have never had that philosophy. I actually think there’s so much value in putting your best foot forward with the knowledge that if people need their own specific circumstances dealt with, you are the person that they’ll go to because you’ve been the one that’s providing the value all along.

Stevie:

Anyway, very happy that I did that. That was a couple of years ago, November 2018. Then basically, I just had one product from then on, so really just launched and relaunched that course, put it on Evergreen, which basically meant that it was running outside of launch periods and got to the end of last year and then had this complete. I think a lot of digital product creators do this, but I had this complete tangent that I went off on where I was like, “You know what? I’m going to start creating a new course every six weeks and I’m going to launch you on every six weeks and it’s going to be amazing and I’m going to create it. I’m going to put all the materials together. I’m going to launch it.” I didn’t realize how unsustainable that was.

Pru:

But I love your passion for work that is shining through [crosstalk 00:04:01].

Stevie:

Oh, totally. PS, did this.

Pru:

I went through all of the things.

Stevie:

Did this at the time that I was having my little babies. Literally… Anyway, side tangent, learnt a lot from that, decided, “You know what? I actually really need to simplify my business and I need to realize what it is that I love and who it is that I love to serve,” because what I had found is that I had e-commerce brands and bricks and mortar companies and personal brands and everyone coming through my social media course. I was like, “Right. Who is my person? Who I really love to serve and who can I help the most?” The clarity that came from that was really going, “Okay. What I love doing and what I can do the best is helping people to build killer personal brands using social media and using podcasting and then to launch a signature online course. I’m going to simplify everything. I’m going to have three different programs and that is going to be what I’m going to have forevermore.” That’s where I’m at, at the moment.

Pru:

That’s amazing. I love that you’ve had to go on that tangent as well. That is the journey of entrepreneurship, right? You could learn it about it, but unless you actually do it, that’s where the greatest learnings come from. Right? You were simple to start with. You had to go a little bit off the rails, maybe have your wild teenage years [inaudible 00:05:18], and then come back a little bit more refined in your 20s, kind of grow up.

Stevie:

Oh, totally. But I think it’s an easy mistake for people to make, especially if they have success with one thing, they’re like, “You know what? I’m just going to do like 10 more of that one thing and I’ll have more success,” but I actually think the value and the power, and I will be teaching this a lot more, is like choose one thing. Choose one person and then solve their one problem with one solution that leads into one opt-in freebie that goes into one course and that’s all you need to do. You can have a million dollar business from it. I’m not there yet, but that’s the goal.

Pru:

It can be so much simpler for you as well. In full transparency, you’ve been on my journey for quite a while as well. I launched a Mastermind Program and that was my signature online course for quite a few throughout… I think it was two years to start with. Then, I thought, “No. I need something top of funnel,” so then came Launching Legends. Then, I thought I need something after Mastermind and then came High-End Hustlers and all of a sudden, there were so many opt-ins. There were so many automated email sequences. There were so many programs that, well, myself and my team was split between running. There was so much diversion of our energy and I had to go back to the drawing board. It was probably about two years ago and just start ruthlessly cutting things out of my business. It was so interesting because I think I cut about 60% of our work and our profit doubled that year.

Stevie:

Yeah.

Pru:

What seemed pretty crazy at the time was actually the smartest thing I could have done in my business.

Stevie:

I think that that is the perfect example of it, Pru. It is such a powerful thing because otherwise, you’re trying to create a whole heap of… I actually see it really manifest in people’s social media strategy actually. They try to do a million different things and serve a million different people and they find that their Instagram isn’t growing and they’re not getting any traction. When they really niched down into… I’ve got example actually is I have a client that really started off in the health space and she’s like, “I want to be a health coach.” Then, she really niched down into helping young women heal their thyroid issues by exercising less and eating gluten free. She became all about that and her whole strategy was around that and she now has the product around that and she has a really simple funnel, whereas she was trying to create a whole heap of different things. She was trying to create a whole heap of different content on an Instagram account and none of it was really sticking. Yeah.

Pru:

Well, it’s a big conversation. Yeah. Whoever is listening right now, I’m glad that you’re listening because simplicity is the ultimate sophistication. I hear myself saying that all the time in business because I think we all went through that stage. Even when I look back at a lot of the businesses that I mentored who very successful creative agencies, for example, we started playing the game of more. It’s like, “Okay. More products or more services and more staff and more and more and more,” and more seems better, but I think it took away the joy as well because like you say, you are so split and it also confuses your message to market, which means the right people aren’t attracted, therefore they’re not converting as well, therefore you’re not making as much money. It’s just a bit of a disaster situation. Actually honing in is definitely where it’s at.

Stevie:

Yeah. Could not agree more. Yeah. That’s the reason why I think signature online courses is so powerful as well because what is one thing you want to be known for? Teach that, go all in on that. Then literally, it’s such clear path when people want to go the next step with you, you’ve got something there to offer them. There’s no confusion. I confused if the customer walks away.

Pru:

Can you talk us through a signature online course, what that means? I think I know what that means, but for our listeners, can you really clearly just identify what that means for them?

Stevie:

Yeah. It’s basically just an online program that is your signature. You want to become known for one thing and you want to have your own unique proven framework for delivering that thing that separates you from every other service provider, every other digital product creator out there. It is your secret sauce. You become known for that thing and it is the core product, I suppose, in your product suite.

Pru:

Right. I absolutely love that. A unique framework and your secret sauce for delivering the results that you deliver for your clients. Why does this beat… Because there’s a lot of online options out there. Equal authors, memberships. There’s eBooks. There’s a bunch of them. Why is a signature course the most powerful, do you think, Stevie?

Stevie:

So A signature course lets you, number one, charge premium pricing. For example, the going price for a signature online course would be between $500 and $2,000, right? That would be where you’re looking at. If you compare that, the amount of work that you would put into, and the perfect example of this because I’ve made this exact mistake, is my social media costs compared to my blueprints that I was previously launching over and over.

Stevie:

The problem that I had when I was like, “Okay. I’m just going to launch these mini courses all of the time,” is that it took the exact same amount of work to put that together and to launch that thing as putting together a signature online course. Right? Number one, the amount of flex time and resources is the same. Number two, when you can actually charge what you are worth and you can charge between $500 and $2,000 for an online course, it allows you to really supercharge the things like Facebook ads, traffic sources, things like that. What I mean by that is let’s say for example, you have a $27 eBook and you want to sell that $27 eBook to… Well, the thing is you’re going to need like a whole lot more people than you’re going to need for a signature online course. What it allows you to do is really attract quality people and spend the money that you need to in order to get the people in and have the profits that you want to have. Does that make sense?

Pru:

Yes. It makes so much sense. Actually, just this morning, I was going for a walk and I was like, “I’m going to do a podcast on the pros and cons of membership sites because I feel like this is where it can really ring home.” I remember getting some… Way back in the day, not getting advice. I read it somewhere, but it was someone who leads the membership space and he said, “Where people fall down is whatever their leverageable product is, they’re not charging enough for it to cover their admin costs and all of the marketing costs that you need to make it profitable.”

Stevie:

Yeah, 100%. Actually, it’s so funny. It’s all come full circle, but I remember when you mentored me way back in the day and I was like, “I think I’m going to start this low cost membership.” You were like, “Look, there’s pros and cons but potentially for you, it’s not the right thing” I didn’t understand it at the time and I so understand it now. The biggest benefit of having a signature online course or an online course that is your secret sauce that’s worth what it is that people will pay for it is that you can actually still structure it like a membership. The way that I, for example, structure all of my online courses is that it is a year of access to the course. You can have access for a year, which I really intentionally do because it’s long enough that you’ve got a little bit of leeway, but it’s not so long that you never ever get results.

Stevie:

That’s why I’ve got so many testimonials because people are actually like, “Oh my gosh, I need to get this done within this period of time,” as opposed to lifetime access of what you’re doing. The other benefit of it is that I’m really actually a huge fan of payment plans because I think one of the biggest reasons people dive into a membership is that they think, “Great. Recurring revenue,” right? “I can build it up, so that I’ve got $5,000 of income coming in every single month as long as my members stay.”

Stevie:

You can do the exact same thing with an online course. You just have to fall in love with payment plans, be okay with payment plans and structure your business, and the way that I do it is really 50% of people that come through my courses generally pay upfront, 50% are on payment plans. You have that beautiful cash injection, plus you get that monthly recurring revenue that you would otherwise get with a membership anyway. Plus, I generally find that people, when they commit to an online course, they don’t have that mentality of, “Every single month, I could pull out.” Like every single month, “Oh, there’s that $37. Oh, I don’t know if that’s still something that I want to do.” I really find that with those monthly memberships cancel any time. It’s just not giving people the right mindset around sticking it for the long course.

Pru:

Yeah. Absolutely. All the yeses to that and I can completely reaffirm what you’re saying there is with my online programs, same thing. We get about 50% of people paying upfront and then about 50% go onto the payment plan. You do then have that beautiful balance of, I guess the benefits of a membership style. However, people are getting results because it’s time bound.

Stevie:

Yes.

Pru:

That’s what builds really successful businesses is if you get real results for your clients or for your members and when that happens, so actually putting some parameters around what you’re going to give them, how long you’re going to give them, get them to do it, so it does have that real call to action for them to move through it, they then get the results and your business grows as a result of that. Second to that as well, I’m so passionate about this. You know I am, Stevie, about signature online courses is that it’s just smart business to have less customers at a higher price point.

Stevie:

Yes.

Pru:

Always. It’s going to really reduce those admin costs. People are just more invested, aren’t they? If they pay $397 as opposed to $37, they’re much more invested in the process and in their own results.

Stevie:

Yeah. 100%, they backed themselves small and they really… I find that the decision process, and I’ve actually gone through this just recently. I purchased something that was like… You know when you get that nervous energy where you’re like, “Oh, is this the right thing for me to do? I don’t know whether to do it or not to do it.” I think even the process of doing that, and I think a thousand dollars to some people is a lot of money. For other people, it’s not a lot of money. That is a completely… A thousand dollars is a thousand dollars, right?

Stevie:

But for the people that are like, “Am I going to go in? Am I going to do this?” I think the process of making the transaction really gives people the motivation and accountability to go, “Okay. Cool. I’m going to get the result.” I think that that is so, so powerful. It’s a difference between listening to a whole heap of free content and podcast content and all of the things and never doing anything with it and actually going, “You know what? I’m going to commit to this. It makes me a little bit excited. It makes me a little bit nervous. I’m going to invest in it and I’m going to commit to getting the results.” I think that’s really powerful.

Pru:

It really is. I’m sure this happens with your members as well, but definitely for us, when people sign up to our High-End Hustlers program, people usually sign up in the month before we actually start the program like most online programs and what I find is as soon as they say yes and they hit that buy now or sign up now button, their world starts to change. It’s like all of a sudden, they land a brand new client because it’s like the whole energy of… Because what they’re doing exactly as you say is it’s a powerful action in saying “I back myself.”

Stevie:

Yes. Could not agree more. 100%.

Pru:

Yeah. Oh, goodness. We’re both in love with online signature courses. I guess why is now the time for people to be thinking about developing a signature online course?

Stevie:

What I hate at the moment is so many people are like, “You’ve got to create an online course. You’ve got to go online. It’s the big thing, blah, blah, blah.” I actually don’t think that this particular point in time is any different to any other points in time. What I think that you need to be really clear on as a business signer is whether you’re at the right point in your journey. What I mean by that is I think it’s really important to, number one, have a proven framework that either you have gotten results for yourself or you’ve gotten results for your clients with. I think that that is absolutely key. Number two, I think you need to be in a position where you’re willing to invest the time and the money to actually get it done right. I see a lot of people that go, “I’m going to create an online course because I think it’s the right thing to do, and it’s passive income.”

Stevie:

They’ll put together a course and then they won’t launch it properly and then they’ll launch it to Cricket and then they won’t get the results and then they say it doesn’t work. Right?I think that’s really important and I think that it’s really important just to make sure that you are at the point in your business. I think the sweet spot is where you’re a busy service provider who has already leveraged everything they can do with this service business by increasing their prices, less clients, all of that good stuff. They’re getting a lot of results for their clients, but they’ve hit a cap in terms of where they can go. Right? I think that that is a really powerful sweet spot because it means that they have a proven framework, they are getting results. I think that’s the time when you’re like, “Cool. I’m going to make that jump into a digital product that not only leverages my time, but also gives me the opportunity to serve more people.”

Pru:

Yeah. I couldn’t agree more. As you’re saying, that was my exact past just for everyone listening in was I had kept myself really at 25 one-to-one clients, which was way too many, but had kept at 25 one-to-one clients and was just running out of time, space, bandwidth, all of the things. That’s when I launched my first Mastermind Program. It was great. One thing that I did then as well, which I think is worthwhile mentioning here. I didn’t say, “All right.” I didn’t sack all of my one-to-one clients and then just go all in on the online course because it can take… One, it’s a little bit expensive sometimes. Not as much now, but back then, it certainly was. I needed money to invest into building the program and advertising and all those kinds of things. It just meant that my one-on-one clients could stick around for a little while to… I could still be delivering content, helping them and serving them, but also they could be propping up my cashflow while it was getting the online side of things or amped up.

Stevie:

Yeah. That’s perfect. I think there’s always going to be this little period where you go backwards a little bit. I’m so in [inaudible 00:20:08] with you. You need to give yourself space in your calendar that you can actually put this thing together, but don’t [inaudible 00:20:16] your clients. Don’t just go [inaudible 00:20:18]. It does not work.

Stevie:

The way that I did it is I really took a step back. I eased back on the number of clients that I had to give myself the time to actually put it together and the time to launch, which is just as important as actually putting together the course. You really need a runway for that and you really need to be strategic about that. Yeah. That is the way that I would recommend doing it. Also, you need to dedicate time to building audience beforehand as well. It’s not a case where you can go, “I’m a busy service provider. I’ve never dedicated any time to any sort of marketing at all for my business or building my personal brand, but I’m just going to dive into an online course.” It doesn’t work.

Pru:

Yeah. Yeah, I agree. You need a step by step kind of approach or just a thought out and considered approach to it because it doesn’t happen overnight as well. One thing that I’m just going to interject with you because I’m really passionate about it, because the next time that someone says to me, “I just want to launch an online program so that I can have a passive income,” there’s nothing passive about an online course. There are definitely huge pros to it. I think you’re a much more leverageable in terms of your impact, in terms of your financial. There’s a lot that’s very leverageable in it but do not, for a second, be fooled that you just build it, you put it on auto pilot and off it goes. [crosstalk 00:21:43].

Stevie:

No. What I will say really is it’s hard work once. Literally, my whole motto with everything at the moment, I am not scared of hard work but…,

Pru:

No, you are not.

Stevie:

Hard work once. I don’t want to have the same conversation with a client 20 times teaching them the same thing. I would prefer to do the hard work upfront to put that into the module of an online course that I can then sell and it then becomes passive overtime. What I will say is the bulk of the work that I have done in relation to my signature online course, which is a social media course, which is actually relaunching, but up until this point, 80% of that work was really done in the first six months of that course. Then, what it really becomes is the marketing and getting [inaudible 00:22:30], which is the fun part, right?

Pru:

Great.

Stevie:

But it doesn’t end. It’s constantly tweaking it. That is why it’s so important just to concentrate on one thing as well because if you decide to launch another product and then another product and then another product, the problem is you’re trying to get people into sales funnels and you’re trying to market and get leads for a million different products, whereas he could just literally launch and relaunch the one product over and over, constantly improve it, constantly tweak it, constantly add new things and it just becomes a whole lot easy, and I’m trying to do a million different things.

Pru:

Yeah. It compounds overtime as well. I think one of the things that I love that compounds the most is your clients’ results. Your testimonials, if you’ve just got this one thing that you’re focusing on and for us, it’s really a High-End Hustlers program. We’ve got so many wonderful testimonials, but word of mouth… I mean, in Australia, if you’re listening in Australia, it’s a small country still and your name can get passed around very, very quickly when the right people are doing… When I say right people, I mean your ideal clients are doing your program.

Stevie:

Yeah. I could not agree more. Yeah. It’s very similar to it. Another thing, it’s really a great coaching program, but it is the same thing for you. It’s like your one thing.

Pru:

Yeah, exactly. Exactly. Okay. I feel like this has already been packed with juicy, juicy tips for everyone. Stevie, what are your top tips in helping people to stop swapping time for money and launch a signature online course?

Stevie:

I would say three things. Number one, I think it’s really important to leverage that power of one strategy. Really think about what your end game is. What is it that you actually want to produce and become known for? For me, for example, to give you a tangible example, it was I want to be the social media person and I want a social media course. From there, work backwards. You need to build an audience.

Stevie:

The number one thing that you’re going to do is have one content marketing platform, whether it’s YouTube, blogs or podcasting, and you’re going to have one social media platform. You need to start six months before you even think about an online course starting to produce valuable content. From there, you need to know who is it that you’re going to be targeting with your course? Who is your one person that you’re really trying to attract? You don’t want to attract everyone. What is the one transformation that your online course is going to give people? What is the tangible outcome? Be really, really clear on that. Then, that will make it so much easier to actually lead people in to that particular sales funnel. The second thing is you need-

Pru:

Oh, hold on. Hold on. Let’s just take that in for a minute. Leverage the power of one. Now, I’ve heard that saying before quite a few times, but you have just broken it down so well there. One person, one outcome, one framework.

Stevie:

One opt-in.

Pru:

One opt-in.

Stevie:

One webinar.

Pru:

One channel.

Stevie:

One course. Yeah.

Pru:

One people.

Stevie:

Yes.

Pru:

Excellent. Excellent. I love it.

Stevie:

Yeah. Because people get distracted by shiny objects, right? The biggest thing with my business is I went all in on Instagram. I went all in on podcasting and I went all in on Facebook ads. They’re the three things. I haven’t done a million things, but literally those three things have really been their results and the catalyst for the rest of my business. Super, super important. I completely lost my train of thought on the other two.

Pru:

Well, we could just go from leveraging the power of one there, guys. In order to stop swapping, time for money and launch your signature online course, think about just leverage that power of one. Always come back to one. Less is more.

Stevie:

Yeah, it’s so important.

Pru:

Yeah. Amazing. Amazing. All right. Well Stevie, you are definitely the go-to for launching some online courses, signature online courses as well. Let people know a little bit about that.

Stevie:

Sure. If you want a checklist, head to steviesayssocial.com/checklist and there is pretty much everything you need to do from idea to launching the damn thing.

Pru:

Yeah. Great. Great. I can only imagine how much is in that. There’s plenty of groundwork to be able to do this. Yeah. It’s such a powerful step that people can take if you do it the right way.

Stevie:

Yes, 100%. That is the thing. If you do it the right way… It’s so sad. It actually breaks my heart when I see people that launched to Crickets or they have an online course. It’s so beautifully powerful and could help so many people, but nobody sees it. Yeah. It’s really important to make sure that you get that course creation right. You get the launch right, and then that’s the ecosystem.

Pru:

Yeah. Perfect. Awesome, Stevie. Well, thank you so much. Then, how can people connect?

Stevie:

Send me a DM on Instagram, @steviesaysocial.

Pru:

Perfect. Perfect. Stevie, thank you so much for your time today. As always, I’ve learned something from you. It’s just been an absolute treat.

Stevie:

Awesome. Thank you.

 

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