Desktop with notebook and computer and the words 10 questions to ask when designing your one-to-many offers

I hate the term “passive income” there is nothing passive about it. Rather you put your energy into different areas of your business. Instead of working one on one with a client you may be spending more energy marketing or providing customer support or managing people who are doing this work for you.

I prefer the term one-to-many.

If you are a service based business there is a good chance you are looking at adding one of these offerings to your business. Whether it’s to scale your income or offer something at a more affordable price point that working with you one-on-one.

But which one should you choose?

There are so many options out there now. If you think you want to run an online course is it going to be a higher price point course with regularly contact with you – possibly with one to one calls built in or a lower cost self-directed course? Will it have a community element or not? Video, audio or written or some combination of all of these?

And there are similar questions for memberships, group programs and everything in between.

All these choices can be overwhelming but I’m a big believer that in many cases you already have the answer in you. You just need to ask yourself the right questions to get that answer out.

To help you get started, here are 10 questions you can ask yourself when considering which one-to-many option to choose.

01.  What do your clients want?

Are they looking for high touch support through a group program or a self-directed course where they can easily pick up a new skill. If you can ask them this question directly then that is great place to start. 

When thinking about this, I wouldn’t think too much about price. It’s easy to think that people want low cost options particularly when it comes to courses. In most cases there are people who are willing to pay if they can see the value in what you are offering. There are some audiences where most members have modest incomes but from my experience these are few and far between. I know in my own case, I’ve told myself the story that new business owners don’t have much to spend only to then see people invest thousands in a program. New business doesn’t always equal short on money!

02.  Is the program for a specific skill?

Some outcomes lend themselves more to self- directed learning. An outcome of being able to use a pivot table in Excel is more easily taught through a self-directed course than shifting your money mindset. How much tailored guidance will your participants need?

03.  How much control do you have over what you are teaching?

If you are teaching people how to use a particular software or platform then keeping a course up to date can be more time consuming. A great example of this is Facebook ads. The platform is often updating and it’s easy for a course to get out of date quickly. A membership or one-off workshops may be a better fit where you aren’t rely on static content.

04.  Will participants particularly benefit from a community?

I can see the benefit in having a community for most outcomes. But they can be a lot of work, both in terms of encouraging participation and moderating to ensure everyone is safe. If you decide you want to have a community, do you want people to all start at the same time? I’ve been in groups where people joining across the year has worked well and I’ve been in others where starting with a cohort really jump starts the sense of community. Both can work but require different approaches to be effective

05.  How much interaction and personal connection do you want?

I’m an introvert and just the idea of having a super active community that I need to be always engaging with feels draining. I would definitely need support if I wanted to go down this option!  If you’re an extrovert then a community where you are always engaging with people may be ideal. It’s about tailoring it to your personality.

06.  Do you want employees?

If you’re offering an evergreen option or a membership that has an always available community that needs moderating then I recommend hiring someone for customer support so you can properly take time off. It may take time for the course to make this financially worthwhile, but I strongly believe it’s something you should plan for. Whereas a group program that runs for say 9 months of the year gives you space to be offline in the months the program isn’t running.

07.  What time off do you want?

This ties in to the employee question, but goes further than that. Maybe you want to take all of summer off or maybe you want one week off every month. Asking yourself this question will help you think about how you structure your one-to-many option. It’s possible to this with a membership if you structure it to allow the break and communicate it well to your members

08.  How will you market your offer?

Lower cost offerings often require more marketing to find enough people for you to make a living wage. Finding 5 people to fill a group program costing $1500 is often much more do-able using referrals than trying to find 75 people to fill a $100. Particularly if you have a small email list or social media presence and what you do have isn’t filled with ideal clients.

09.  What systems are required?

If you aren’t tech savvy then choosing an option that has lots of moving parts may mean hiring in help. Do you want to test delivering the outcome in simpler way to start with before you invest in more complex set up?

10. Which option are you excited by?

This question can act as a short cut for many of the above questions. If you are excited by an idea then there is a good chance it incorporates your personal preferences. The only caveat is that it can be easy to get caught up in the marketing hype around certain types of offers. There always seems to be an offer that is the current fad.

Still not sure if a one-to-many options is right for you? They aren’t the only way to scale your service based business not matter what social media might tell you. It’s possible to scale one to one work.

If you would like support in making a decision on which direction you would like to take your business or what your one-to-many option could look like, book in for the Thoughtful Business Pause.

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