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I’m coming off a busy and buzzing week … providing ongoing coaching to my Biz and Life Accelerators (incubator where I teach the basics of building an online biz while simultaneously doing your inner work), launching the 2011 cohort of Certified Graphic Coaches, and putting together two new webinar series to run late May – early July with wonderful collaborators. Soooooo, I thought it was timely to share some insights into how to grow and organize your business offerings be they products or services (especially if you have specialty knowledge or information to share).
Soooooo, I thought it was timely to share some insights into how to grow and organize your business offerings be they products or services (especially if you have specialty knowledge or information to share).
1. Follow Your Interests and Put In Your Hours
Time and time again I suggest that info entrepreneurs and wannabe online teachers follow their natural attractions and instincts … and the subject of how to create and launch your offerings is no different. It all begins with your natural inclinations. In order to create an offering, you first need to know something of value to share. You get that by following the cookie crumbs on something you like and studying the heck out of … putting in your 10,000+ hours to reach competency or expertise (recommended reading: Malcolm Gladwell’s book ‘Outliers’). To stick with that kind of focus it helps to actually like what you are doing during all those hours!
For example, when I first stumbled upon the visual way of working with groups (via my mentors at The Grove Consultants), I was totally intrigued and logged hours upon hours in studying all I could and reviewing the work of others – then doodling, drawing and eventually earning my keep as an internal, then self employed graphic recorder and graphic facilitator. I logged A LOT of hours through that decade and almost as many air miles!
2. Trust the Pull into Different or Related Subjects
While I continue to love the visual way of working, I’m not as obsessed by it as I used to be (having reached a decent level of mastery and recognition). However new obsessions have taken its place. For another decade (with some overlap with my interest in Interactive-Graphics) I’ve been obsessed with Law of Attraction and meta-physics — getting my hands on anything about LOA, you-create-your-own-reality, channeling, manifestation, space, universe, etc. I’m not as obsessed as I used to be (given I understand a whole lot more than I used to) but my awareness and attraction to these subjects will probably always be there to some extent … just like my love of visuals.
Lately I have two new obsessions. Good information on relationships and effective relating (what really goes into good partnerships in the 21st century be they business or personal) and also painting. While I have been creative for a long time with my writing, speaking and visual work … for me it a different route to go into acrylic painting where nothing needs to make intellectual sense and where I can express in looser ways.
When my interests shift after a sustained period of study, I have been through it enough to trust when this happens – and to follow what I am being pulled to. In doing so I have never been disappointed. And I trust that with enough time, my interest in this new subject will probably somehow work its way into my offerings when the time feels right too. This is often the case with my clients as well. We can all trust our instincts and unfolding path. Our soul/higher self has got our back.
3. Package What You Confidently Know
After you honestly feel that you have reached a level of mastery (or at minimum, fair competency on a subject) then you are ready to start packaging at least a beginning offering. The level, investment and sophistication of your offering can improve and develop over time as your experience and expertise does.
4. Types of Packages
The ways to package your information and get it into the marketplace are varied. Depending on your expertise and credentials, you could aim to self-publish (newsletters, e-books, home study courses. etc) or land traditional publishing (books, DVD or audio programs) or offer private or group coaching, consulting, mentoring, training or certifications (even in-house tailored offerings or retainers).
Lower tier offerings where you pull people together in groups with lower investment and mid to higher tiers where the investment with the one-to-one access to you and your specialized knowledge and skills.
5. Pilots and Introductory Offerings
A great way to test the waters and see/feel things out is to create pilot or introductory offerings. I often do this with my new creations. Launch with an introductory investment with a note that the investment will climb in the future (great way to alert those who are interested in your leading edge and those keen for a good deal). For example, see my new Relationship by Design course with my fun and informed collaborator Jonathon Aslay, its launching today as an introductory course as we’ll most likely do it again in the fall and perhaps years to come.
6. Partner with Others
Speaking about Jonathon … this is a good time to mention partnering with others through joint offerings. Have some good content and knowledge of your own? Think another person’s or company’s info would match up well with yours? Then consider doing a joint venture. After years of being a solopreneur with just my own offerings, this season I’m branching out and collaborating with others … with plans to do more collaboration in the future. There is only so much knowledge and expertise that one person can hold. If you want to diversify your offerings and move into other interest’s areas – a great way to do that is to pair with smart, ethical and complementary partners. It makes things interesting not only for your clientele but for you too!
7. What’s Itchin’ To Evolve?
Sooooooo, with all this good and hopefully inspiring stuff about offerings … what do you have up your sleeve? What are your natural interest or expertise areas? How can you study up or improve your competency? Are you at a level where you could launch at least a beginning offering? If so, which type of offering might be your low hanging fruit to step out with? And, if that went well, what would the next logical step be to further enhance your funnel beyond that? If you are feeling inspired – go for it!
If you are a little shaky and need some more education, support and guidance …. well, you guessed it; I have an offering for that! My Biz and Life Accelerator provides 9-months of educational and mastermind support for solo and infopreneurs to launch or enhance your offerings using the online model (current cohort is full but I’ll be running this very effective program again in the fall, with modifications to the current format … stay tuned for details).
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©2011 Christina L. Merkley
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Christina Merkley, “The SHIFT-IT Coach” and creator of the SHIFT-IT System®, is a Visioning and Strategic Planning Expert specializing in Visual Thinking and Law of Attraction techniques. Based in charming Victoria, British Columbia, Canada, she works deeply with individuals, partners and conscious businesses to define and manifest what they truly want. And, trains other helping professionals in her innovative ways of working. For more information visit: www.shift-it-coach.com