#70: Launching Your Programs

When you’re running your own business it can be scary to take time off. It’s like – wait, what if I miss out on an opportunity? What if I don’t make any money and then next month I’m screwed? In this episode, Michelle talks about the 4 phases of launching your program. It’s the key to earning the salary you want and having downtime to enjoy it.

Want to learn more about how to plan your business around launches? Check out Michelle’s free training for health coaches at: https://healthcoachpower.com/earn

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Hey there health coaches! This is Michelle and I don’t know about you, but so far my summer has been kind of crazy, like very crazy just personally and I’ve actually been taking quite a bit of time off. Now when you’re running your own business, it can be insanely scary to actually take time off. Just like raise your hand if you have ever felt that way. You’re like, no, no, no, no, no. What if I miss out on an opportunity? What if I don’t make any money and then next month I am completely screwed. Nope, never can take time off as an entrepreneur and this is really a trap that we can fall into. I want to make sure that you don’t, so today we’re going to talk about somewhat of an advanced topic. The reason that I can take time off right now and not stress about it is because I plan my year around a couple of big events called launches.

I mean, I definitely sell my programs and my services year round. If somebody walks up to me on the street and hands me a check and says, Michelle, can I be your health coaching client? It’s not like I’m going to say no, but a few times per year I do put some big effort against selling my stuff and I make a huge chunk of change during these launches, which means I can have that relative downtime in between until it all happens again in a couple of months. Anyway. So today I want to talk about the art of the launch and how you can begin to plan your own launch to create a spike of new clients and hopefully begin to plan some time off for yourself as well. Much needed. Am I right? So what I want to share are the four phases of any successful launch.

Alright so, get ready to take some notes because you might want to jot this down. And if you really, really want to see how launches can make a huge difference in your income, you’ve got to check out my free training. It’s at healthcoachpower.com/earn and inside that training I show you kind of the big picture of how launching leads to steady, predictable income and how to plan your year accordingly. So don’t miss that. Go to healthcoachpower.com/earn. But right now what I want to do is sort of zoom in on an individual launch and talk about those four phases and how they all come together.

Okay, this topic actually came from Sydney who’s said, she said, I’m working on creating a brand-new program around my now super focused niche. Good job Sidney, that is like the hardest part right there. She says I want to do a buildup and Beta launch for it. What are your best tips and suggestions for approaching doing this? Anything I should or shouldn’t do?

Sydney, I think you’re going to get a lot out of today’s episode. I could probably talk about this topic for like a week straight. Maybe I will at some point. But like I said, take out a pen because you and everyone going to be taking notes right along with you for the next couple of minutes here. So before we get to the four phases that I mentioned, the most important part of a launch, and please hear me when I say this is really the offer, the offer that you’re making. Let’s say that you usually sell, I don’t know, three months, six months health coaching program for $2,000 whatever it is that your normal offer would be. That is simply not going to cut it for your launch. During a launch is like when you’re going to want to have the most excellent bonuses, some special extras that you’re going to throw in, something that makes the offer just irresistible to someone like they have to say yes and yes, I’m going to do this now because I don’t want to miss out on these limited time offers or whatever it is that you’re including.

We’ll talk about that in just a second. Now when I say something like this, you’re probably thinking about like the, I don’t know, the 4th of July sale at Toyota. You know, we all know that there’s these special events that businesses will do and we’re usually thinking about them in terms of a discount or a sale. So yes, it might mean that your maybe, maybe mean that you’re offering some sort of discounted rate. But I don’t want you to get into the habit of discounting your health coaching services because what will happen is your audience will learn to wait for your sales and we don’t want to be seen as like the Walmart of health. You know when you hire a health coach, that’s a pretty high end investment and you really do want to be selling a higher priced program in order to sustain your business.

So when you think about discounting or doing like a sale, do so with caution. There are certain times that it can make sense. But in general, what I really want you to do is amp up the value of your offer. And so that might mean, let’s say you had that $2,000 coaching package and if somebody signs up during this launch period, maybe you’re going to include extra support for them. Maybe. I know a lot of my clients will ask like, Michelle, can I text you and I am typically like, no, no thank you. I have a boundary there. We can use, we can communicate through my client portal, but no, please do not text me all day and night. However, maybe for just a certain number of people that sign up during this launch, I would add text messaging support, so that’s going to be great for someone who loves to communicate via text message and they want a lot of hand-holding.

It’s not something I usually do, but if they were to sign up during the launch, maybe that could be a bonus. Another thing you could offer along the same lines of having extra support for your people, you could offer weekly meal prep sessions. I know some health coaches do this where you actually go to your client’s home and you help them meal prep for the week. You could even do it by Skype or Facetime or something like that. But helping your clients set aside that hour on Saturday or Sunday, whatever it is to chop up their vegetables for the week. Okay. That can be some sort of extra support that you give or maybe even some kind of group support. Maybe you have private clients, but everyone who signs up during this launch, there’s going to be something special for all of them together. A group class, a Facebook group, some sort of bonus that they all get to experience together because as we know, people really do thrive sometimes with that community around them.

So you could think about doing something as a group. So that’s kind of all falls into the category of providing more support. And that is certainly one kind of bonus that you can give. Another way to go about it is to include extra resources and these might be things you already have. They might be things you can create or repackage, you know, maybe you already have them in a different format. But think about meal plans. Think about recipe books, workout videos, shopping guides, I don’t know, maybe you sell essential oils on the side and you’re going to give everyone who signs up during this time period and array of your favorite essential oils. Okay, so extra resources, products, that sort of thing. Well, the way you want to decide on these bonuses for your offer is to think about what your ideal client really wants.

Like what will make your offer absolutely irresistible for him or her. And that is what you want to give them so that you can amp up what they’re getting for that same $2,000 and I know it feels like, well that’s a lot of extra work. Or Oh, if I gave away oils that’s going to cost me money. That’s true, but you are going to have a time limit on this offer and we’ll talk about that in just a second. And you can even have a limit on how many clients or how many spots are available, right? So maybe you’re only offering this to five people or 10 people. Just figure out how many of these special promotional packages you can offer without overextending yourself. And that’s really important. So by the way, if you’re here live and you have questions, totally stop me and ask.

I know it’s a lot of information and I know it’s different than how most of you are already selling your coaching packages. So I am here with you live for this very reason. Don’t be shy. Once you decided on your incredibly valuable offer that you’re going to make during your launch, then we need to plan for these four phases on your calendar. I’m going to go through them sequentially as they actually happen, but when you plan them, and I’ll talk about this at the end, I want you to actually plan them backwards. This is how a person would actually go through your launch experience. So if somebody in your audience, someone who is maybe a your neighbor, your friend, a Facebook follower, this is how they would experience your launch. Okay? The first phase is actually a pre-launch phase. I know it sounds like this is an easy one to blow off, but it’s super duper important.

Especially if you are one of those coaches who go ahead and met it. You haven’t been emailing your list regularly or blogging regularly or showing up on social media regularly. Maybe things, some sort of slid by the wayside, but even if you have during this time you are extra focused on building your mailing list with your exact target market and you’re being extra, extra attentive to those who are already on your list and already in your social media audience. You’re just really showing up consistently. You’re putting out your best content and you’re drawing attention to yourself. You’re just kind of reminding everybody, Hey, this is who I am. This is how I can help you. You’re not selling anything in the pre-launch phase, so it actually can be a lot of fun because there’s no pressure at all and you’re just putting on a show a little more often than usual.

And by putting on a show that could be just getting that email out every week to your list. It could be literally putting on a show as in showing up on Facebook live. But I will leave those tactics up to you. The idea here is that you want to make sure your potential ideal clients are sitting up and taking notice since you’re not selling anything, you just want them to think, wow, this person is great. Look at all this great free information they’re giving me and you’re warming them up essentially to want more from you. All right?

And I’ve got a couple comments over here. Hannah says, I love the idea of gifting essential oils and tech support. Yeah. Either of those could work. Um, it really does depend on your target market. Like do they want essential oils? Hopefully if you’re selling essential oil, oil is, you’re doing it because you already know you’re trying to get market wants them, but really think about from their perspective what would help them, what would make them feel like, oh this is awesome for me.

Cause you might say to like, oh bonus, you get like three extra sessions with me and someone who’s really busy, like let’s say a super, super busy working mom is like, no I don’t, I don’t, I don’t want extra sessions. Please God, no, I don’t have time for any of this to begin with. So, you got to think about how your bonus is going to land for them.

Deborah says running, she’s running her first paid program. It’s eight weeks and it’s a, it’s a Beta lot. So it’s like her Beta program, first time doing it. Any thoughts on pricing?

Yeah, Debra. I mean there’s zero way for me to answer that question without knowing. And this goes for all of you. What problem are you solving? Like what is the value proposition? If I join your group, Deborah, will my Eczema that’s covering my body all go away? If I know that we cannot make like medical claims, but what’s the value here? Why am I joining? Am I doing your program so that I can learn to, uh, cook eggs? That’d be a very small value. I’ve, I haven’t priced that very low, but if it’s something like I’m going to join your program and, and everyone in this program together, I was going to be learning how to uh, reduce stress and change their life around so that they can go after their dreams. You know, that’s a, that’s a much bigger value or are they are going to lose weight or they are going to get rid of that Eczema, like whatever the value is, that’s how you want to praise because you want to think how much is that promise worth? If somebody were to really follow all the steps of the program and really were to take advantage of your support and see results, what would those results be and how much is it worth to them? And that’s how you price your program.

Okay. Where was I? Where was I? So we have our pre-launch phase. Good. Then after, let’s say four to six weeks, it could be longer. I probably wouldn’t go much shorter than four weeks of sort of being in this pre-launch phase. That is when you are going to plan for a big launch event. And I know you’ve seen this happen, but you may not have always realized what was happening. But when someone is offering, let’s say a Webinar or they’re doing some big Facebook live event with a giveaway, or maybe it’s even an in-person event, it could be a workshop or a talk or something that somebody is doing and people are going to gather. Imagine this in real time, in a real space. Um, it can be something like a five day challenge that can be run online. It could also be run in person, anything really.

But basically you’re doing some sort of free events where again, you’re giving great value, you’re getting people excited about this value that you’re going to offer them. Meaning if you’re going to offer a program about getting rid of Eczema, your launch event is going to have to do something with getting rid of Eczema because you want those people to show up for it. And this is also when you’re going to open the doors to your program and now it’s your great offer and you’re saying, come on and sign up. You know, you can sign up from today. But it’s a limited time. We had this bonus or this set of bonuses, maybe spots are limited and there’s always going to be some sort of deadline, a hard deadline. So on that launch event day, that’s when you start making sales. So the people that are most excited about working with you, they’re going to jump right, like maybe they’ve been hanging out with you for the past couple of weeks.

Um, as you’ve been putting out your consistent content, they sign up for your Webinar or they sign up for your five day challenge or whatever it is and they’re like, this is exactly what I’m looking for. Yes, I want to work with you. She would make sales on that first day. Uh, for sure. That’s usually when you’re one of the biggest days. Then after that launch, you bet. The third phase of a successful launch is called your cart open period. Like your shopping cart is open. I know there’s no actual shopping cart, but typically that’s what it’s called and you’re going to continue making sales if you do it right during your cart open phase, it will last about a week. It could be shorter. Sometimes it’s just like three days, four days. It could be longer, it could be two weeks, but whatever it is, it’s going to be a defined period of time during which you continue to reach out to your audience, reminding them about your offer and all of the bonuses and how it’s going to help them solve their big problem.

This is when you answer all their questions. It’s when you share your best case studies and testimonials and you basically do everything you can to help these people make a decision. Do they want to work with you or not? Because people love to hang out in the middle. They love to say, Oh me, maybe, maybe later, maybe next month, maybe next year. And you are saying, oh no honey, I got this great package but it’s expires and three days. So you really need to make a decision. You know, and it’s not a bad thing to give people a push because we know they need help. We know people are out there struggling with all kinds of health issues and yet they continue to struggle. So when you give them a deadline, you give them that to kind of get up and make a move and sometimes they really need that and it’s super duper helpful.

Okay, so you go through your cart open period and then finally on the last day of your launch, which by the way, I would not schedule for Friday or a weekend or a holiday because that last day of your launch tends to be when you make maybe as many sales as the first day, sometimes more sales than the first day. Because as you know, people are procrastinators and they know the offer is disappearing. So they’re like, ah, last chance. And that tends to be when you get a lot of people signing up. The thing is you have got to stick to that date because if someone calls you like the next day and it’s your, it’s your best friend and they’re like, yeah, I know I missed your deadline, but can I still get that package? You have to be prepared to say no. I know it’s so hard, but this is about integrity.

This is about your audience trusting you. What if like, I don’t know, a footlocker how to sail on sneakers and the sale ended yesterday and you walk in and you’re like, yeah, but could I get that sale price on these Nike’s or like no, that, you know, like the cashiers just don’t look at you like you’re crazy. So you kind of have to treat yourself like a business in that regard. So half the bonus is going away. The package is going away. It has to go away. Or if you said, I’m only accepting five clients for this package or 10 clients, as soon as you hit that mark, boom, you have to stop it. Cause accepting clients. Okay. All about integrity and your offers. Again, you’re going to get the most people signing up very often on that last day. And I don’t want you to feel weird about it.

Weird about saying last chance. I mean, it’s not their last chance to work with you and people will ask that, well what could I sign up next week? Yeah, of course you can sign up next week. Can I sign up in the fall? Yeah, you can sign up in the fall. However, this package at this price point, it’s only available now and I don’t know if I’ll offer it again, which is probably true. You probably don’t know if you’ll ever offer it again. So that is what you can honestly tell them and give them that deadline. You’re going to give him a push off the couch to sign up with you. Now inside my course healthy profit university, I do actually share a step by step of launching, going into more details about these phases right down to which emails to send and what they should say.

And if you check out my free training at healthcoachpower.com/earn you can learn more about what we do inside healthy profit university. But for now, for those of you listening, go ahead and take out your calendar and we’re going to sketch it out backwards just like I promised you. So the best way to think about it is when do you want it to be the last day for signups, right? Like, let’s say you want people to complete and I don’t know, a six or eight week program and you want it to finish before Christmas, we’ll then back out those eight weeks. You need them to sign up before that, so figure out what the day is. That would be the last day that your cart is open. Once you know that last date that the cart is open back out about a week, that’s when your launch event is going to happen and remember, don’t do your launch event and don’t do the last day of the cart open on a Friday, Saturday, Sunday, or holiday.

You always want it to be on a day where people are actually available for the most part and paying attention. Okay, we have your launch event. Let’s say it’s a Webinar or a workshop, whatever it’s going to be. Let’s say you’re holding it on like a Wednesday. That’s brilliant. Then you’re going to back out four to six weeks I had of that and that will be your pre-launch phase. Still kind of being careful working around holidays, working around your own, like vacation schedule or the, you know, pay attention. If you’re doing like big construction on your house, you might want to adjust your schedule, right? Launching can be a lot of work and you don’t want anything huge going on in your personal life at the same time. Okay? I realize that some of you might be listening to this later, right? But those of you who are listening now, when this episode is released, it’s like mid July.

Just trust me. Now is the time to start planning for the fall. You don’t want to wait or you’re going to miss that window between September and the holiday season, right? And you want to fit that eight week program in or whatever you need to get done before the holidays. So that’s why summer is so, so important for health coaches to kind of get our acts together.

And I’m so grateful that you’re here with me. You’re doing exactly that. Of course, if you have any questions as you plan your launch, you can ask inside our Facebook group at healthcoachpowercommunity.com.

And Deborah, who we spoke about earlier with her eight week program said weight loss that addresses and brings in faith based perspective. Most programs only address the body. The value is getting on with their purpose in life and stop the Yoyo Diet Cycle.

Okay, so Deborah, you have to think about how much has this woman already probably spent to lose weight. If she could lose the weight that she wants to lose, how much is that worth to her? I mean it literally is worth something to a woman who has spent hundreds, thousands of dollars on weight loss programs through the years and she could actually fix the problem. What sort of dollar amount would she put against that? And that is how you typically want to price your program. Solving a big problem, big price tag solving, small program, small price tag.

Okay, I’ve got a couple more minutes. If you guys have any other questions for me, I am happy to answer them. Oh, let’s see, I got something here from a Penn. She says, I’ve heard from one source on Fridays between four to 8:00 PM they get the most sells because it’s usually payday for the most people and the last day of work for the week.

So let’s say you’re going to have your cart open or your cart close. You’re saying maybe on Fridays is a good time between four to 8:00 PM maybe. It really does depend on your target. Um, I find with the women I work with, a lot of times they take Fridays off, they have a long weekend or on Fridays if they are in the office, they are maybe out for lunch. They’re doing a little more socializing. They’re certainly not going to be coming home at six o’clock and attending a Webinar. Right? That’s, that’s my audience though. But you can think about your audience and what works well for them. But it is, you bring up a good point about payday, right? So if let’s say I’m, people usually get paid on the first and the 15th of the month and your car closes on the 14th. I have run into situations where people are like, but I get paid tomorrow. Now, do I extend for them? No, but I have put that into my bag of tricks to remember. Let’s try to schedule around people’s paydays. It’s a good point.

Okay. I have, um, let’s time for like one more question. Oh my gosh. We talked so much about launching today. I’m so excited about that. Let’s pick a question that we can do quickly. Here’s one that I think relates because this has to do with what you do with your clients once you have signed them up for your program.

This is from Alana and she said, I’m wondering how you structure your programs in terms of goal setting. IIN has a goals form that’s intended for the client to fill out before the first session. Do you all have clients officially set their goals on a form prior to starting the program sessions or do you come up with them together at session one?

Alana, I’ll just tell you what I do. Everyone does it differently. I don’t think there’s like a wrong way and a right way. I always found that if I sat down with a client and tried to be like super logical about it, like, okay, what are your six month goals and what are your three month goals? Like let’s break them down. Let’s, let’s decide exactly where you want to be in one month. Ah, I found like it was, everyone was really in their head about it. Like, well I want to lose 30 pounds. Okay, so in six months I want to lose 30 pounds. I means in three months I want to lose 15 pounds. That means in one month I want to lose 10 pounds. And it’s like, you know what? The body doesn’t really work like that or you know, it just felt like they were planning like a, a work project or something.

Whereas health coaching, I always feel it’s about so much more than like hitting those like 15 pound marks or you know, how do you even calculate some of the value that people get out of your program? Nobody is going to say during session one oh, Michelle, by month three, I’d really like to be feeling more clear in my head and able to make decisions with confidence. Like I don’t think anyone will ever say that to me. But then when it happens, they’re like, oh my God, I feel like I have so much more confidence and able to speak my mind and no shifts come about that they could never have planned for. So anyway, that’s a long way of saying I don’t sit down and do that worksheet with my clients. But what I do, and I do think this is really important, usually during the consultation actually I always ask my clients, what will success look like for you?

And sometimes I’ll phrase it like this, how will you know that you got what you came for? Because that really puts a fine point on like what are you spending money to solve? Because if they are coming, let’s say to lose weight and they don’t lose a single pound, even if lots of other wonderful things happened, they’re probably going to feel like I didn’t get what I came through or, or I didn’t get what I was prompt. So I need to know what it is that they feel they’re paying for. And then my job as a coach is always to give them what they want. In that case, it would be to make sure that some weight loss is happening to the best of my ability and also give them what they need. So at the end of the day, my best case scenario is that they got both.

They got what they wanted. So she is seeing weight loss if that’s what she initially wanted. And she’s also saying, oh my God, I have so much more energy. Look at me. I decided to quit my job and go after my dreams. And all these other amazing things start to happen that she never could have planned for in the beginning. So it’s always that sort of give and take between what they want and what they need, but don’t lose sight of what they want because that can lead to disappointment at the end if the program has lost sight of why they initially signed up. I hope that helps.

And that is all for today, you guys. I would be so, so grateful if you would take a moment and review the show on iTunes. Just leave a five star rating or whatever rating you want. Leave a written review because that is how we reach more health coaches and it allows me to keep bringing you great content every week. So thank you so much in advance for that. Keep asking great questions. I’ll be back next week to answer them. I’ll see you then.