As you begin to develop your business model, it is helpful to begin with the end in mind. What’s your most robust offer? What’s the ‘gold’ level of your offers? What’s the premium, most in depth and comprehensive version of what you offer? There’s a good chance that this will pay half of your bills. From that, you can reverse engineers the lower levels of your business model and smaller offers. You can start with the gold version and then ask yourself what the silver and bronze levels might be.
Ah… but what on Earth does one include in such a premium level program? There are more elements and options to consider than you might have thought. Here’s a menu to choose from.
Let’s imagine, for the sake of clarity, that the following is for some sort of a life or business coach – fundamentally a service provider. But most of these could be translated to those who sell products as well.
Element #1: One on One Coaching. This is the obvious one. At the premium levels, people want hand holding. They’re not paying you the big bucks for ‘more info’. They’re not paying you for empathy and context alone. No, at this level, they want guidance. It’s hard to imagine a premium package without this.
Element #2: Workshops and Retreats. In my Mentorship Program, there are two live retreats in my living room each year. It’s included in the $400 USD/month that they pay. They just have to get themselves to Edmonton and find accommodations. Other coaches do much larger workshops that are open to the public (who pay) but their higher level clients don’t pay to attend. They come as guests. If you’re doing the workshop already, why not invite them as guests? It costs you nothing but adds a lot of value to their experience in your program. Plus, then they get to meet each other and that can deepen their connection to your program in an organic, unfocused way.
Element #3: The Batphone. Clients in my Mentorship Program get access to me via an app called Voxer (similar to WhatsApp) where they can send me texts and voice messages. I get back to them as soon as possible. Sometimes it’s easier to send a voice message than sitting down to write an email. Sometimes they just need to vent. They’re melting down and need or need to just hear themselves talk something out.
Element #4: Unlimited Email Coaching. I know some coaches who offer this to their clients. Clients can email them questions whenever they want and as much as they want. Some clients will use it a lot and some won’t ever use it at all.
Element #5: Group Calls. You can do these weekly, bi-weekly or monthly. In my Mentorship Program, I host a weekly call. It’s 90 minutes long. The entire format is Q&A. I record them. It’s just there if they need it.
Element #6: Google Doc Coaching. In my Mentorship Program, I give my clients some Google Docs which have worksheets in them. They fill them out as well as they can and notify me when they’re ready to have it looked at. And then I do and add in my suggested edits, my questions and my comments and send it back to them for the next round. This is gold. I can help people make an immense amount of progress in honing their niche and point of view in this way in a way that we never could by just talking.
Element #7: eBooks and Homestudy Courses. If you already have a back catalogue of eBooks and a home study course or two, why not just include them in what they get? They can go through it all in their own time. It costs you nothing but could add significant value to them.
Element #8: Facebook Groups. This is very common and not everyone wants or uses them. But having some online forum where your Premium Program clients can connect with each other has benefits. In my Mentorship Program it’s mostly used for calls – people type in their Wins from the Week and Questions for the Call in the group before the call gets going (I find that this saves time rather than having everyone verbally check in). People also, from time to time, use it to ask for help from each other and to post something they want feedback on. Sometimes it’s just a big deal that they don’t feel alone in doing the work with whom they can commiserate and brainstorm solutions.
Element #9: Step by Step Checklists. Again, remember that your Premium Clients want guidance not just more information. They want ‘here’s exactly what you do first, second and third’ in order to achieve whatever result your program is promising. They want a visual, ‘I can pin this onto my fridge’ kind of map.
Element #10: ‘Templates’, ‘Worksheets’ and ‘Fill in the Blank’ Systems. One of the eBooks I recommend most often is Carrie Klassen’s How to Write a Lovable Homepage workbook. The right resource of this type can be very helpful at the right moment because it doesn’t ask them to start from a blank page which can be utterly overwhelming.
Element #11: Partner Check Ins. You could help them find accountability partners. This can be a game changer for people. They can rely on each other for help implementing the work and on you for guidance in what to implement. The more customized this is for them the better. Finding a good buddy ain’t easy and it can go wrong in a lot of ways.
Element #12: Access to Your Network Through You. Some coaches are very well connected in their communities and this can be a big part of what they offer their clients. “I’ll hook you up with hubs, influencers and people who can offer you the technical help that you need. My rolodex is yours.” When these connections are made with care they can save people years of work. Another colleague Emerald Peaceful GreenForest offers this, “Access to rolodex of resources (or parts of it depending on the level of investment) Appearances in front of my audience via podcast or as a guest to my list once they have successfully completed again dependent on level of investment.”
Element #13: Tools, Templates & Resources. My colleague Andy Freeland had this to say, “One thing I’ve been seeing a bit more of is custom apps, plugins, etc.. And something I’m exploring now is using courses to scale my 1:1 facilitation sessions. So, instead of the approach of giving people a bunch of info and homework, I’m actually using prompts and timers to set up an automated process that guides my students through a process that I usually facilitate in a live 1:1 scenario. In this case, the course guides people through what is normally a 4hr live Brand Strategy facilitation. So it’s a bit different than the typical homestudy course approach, in that the entire thing is meant to be completed in a single session.”
Element #14: Personalized Recordings. My colleague Mellissa Seaman shared this, “I offer my premium clients personalized recordings they can listen to in the car on the way to work – made for them by name… things they can listen to to ground and refresh, to remember their purpose- over and over.”
Element #15: One on One VIPS Days or Retreats. What if, instead of a group retreat, you offered an in depth, one on one dive where they come to you or you meet live in a location (or via phone and zoom) that would support and be supported by the work? What if you offered them a very focused and immersive time? It could be a day long or five days. You might give them an assignment to do for an hour and then come back you work through the next step together and then send them off again.
Element #16: Laser Coaching Sessions. Mellissa Seaman shares, “My VIP executive clients do NOT have time for Facebook, hour long calls, or group stuff. They want more in less time. 20 minute coaching calls on lunch breaks, always flexible for time changes at the last minute.”
Element #17: Bespoke Homework. “They love homework that is tailored for them, not pre-made.
Element #18: Help them track results. Help them keep track of where they are in your process. Hopefully you have some general map you’re guiding them through but it’s easy for them to lose track of themselves or have assignments and work slip through the cracks as a new ‘shiny object’ appears. It can be a godsend to have someone else say, “So, where are you on this? Are you on track?” Increasingly in my Mentorship Program, I am asking clients to review their goals in a collective spreadsheet once a week to keep them up to date. And then, once a month or so, I review them and send them an email to see how it’s going on them and if they need support with any of those goals.
Element #19: Done for you Services. My colleague Eiji Morishita offers this, “If there’s any done for them that you or your team can do can be included in a high ticket. We include event site selection & negotiation plus having me MC the event for optimal Sales and coaching them onsite pre & post offer in our top program where we coach & design their multi-6 figure Signature Live Event.” Could you write their sales or landing page for them? Could you create their poster for them? Could you interview them and then create a menu for them for a month? Could you offer them copy-editing? Could you generate leads or promotional partners for them? Graphic design? Photography? Health services? Website creation? Create a speaker reel for them? Could you handle hiring, contract negotiation, sales, team training, and facilitate board meetings for them?
Element #20: Online Virtual MasterMinds. In my Mentorship Program, we do informal versions of this all the time online and my whole retreat and Living Room Sessions workshop is based on this. Online, someone might bring a sales letter in Google Doc form and we take 10 -15 minutes to have everyone look at it together to give feedback. This is incredibly helpful because you can get to that point where you can look at but no longer ‘see’ your own writing. You’re too close to it. In my weekend retreats, the whole format is hotseat or mastermind based. There’s a limit of seven people there. Each person gets two hours of time from the group. They share their issue to the whole group. We then take thirty minutes to ask questions and reflect what we’re hearing to make sure we understand. No advice is allowed. Once we are convinced we’ve ‘got it’ we move into giving advice that is laser focused on them and their issues and deeply informed by everything we’ve heard. You could also pull together a group of people to be in the mastermind for them. You could curate the mastermind group around them by pulling on your relationships with your colleagues in a ‘You scratch my back and I’ll scratch yours’ way.
Element #21: Photo Shoot. My dear colleague Morgana Rae offers this beautiful and out of the box touch, “I include a photo shoot at my retreat for my women to use as they choose. Most use their photos for their businesses and dating.”
Element #22: Silent Work Sessions. Some coaches will schedule a time every week and invite everyone in the program to block off that time for silent, focused work. Their coaches are available for feedback via chat for three hours. Andrea Lee speaks of this as, “get-things-done sprints at designated times, especially for writing and lead generation, aka integrity afternoons/days”.
Element #23: Coaching Critiques & Supervision. If you are offering them coaching on how to coach, you could sit in on their coaching sessions, take notes and offer them feedback after (or during) the call. This kind of feedback is gold.
Element #24: Supervised Rehearsal. If you’re a public speaking coach, you might meet with them in person or over Skype to coach them through their presentation. My colleague Kellita offers an Act Review for Burlesque dancers. But what if you’re a relationship coach and they have a scary conversation with their spouse coming up, you could help them rehearse that in a role play. Asking for a raise? Help them rehearse that too.
Element #25: Shadow Coaching. My dear colleague Andrea J. Lee points out that one thing you could offer is onsite coaching for speaking, workshop, event host, facilitation. Meaning, you would be there, watching from the back, taking notes and offering them feedback when they get ‘off stage’ to help them stay on track.
Element #26: Promotional Support. Depending on the nature of what you do, part of what you offer could be, “I’ll share what you are up to with my following via email and social media.” This could also mean you get them on your stage at an event you do.
Element #27: Extended Coaching. What if they have a spouse, business partner or team? Could you offer coaching to those others as well? If you’re a parenting coaching, you might include some low level couples counselling. You might offer conflict resolution with their business partners. You might offer to facilitate something for their team.
Element #28: Licensed Intellectual Property, White Labelling. Andrea J. Lee gives this example, “When Pink Spoon Marketing was written, it became clear that the content was useful for other markets. I sold a ‘white label’ version of it which means that all the characteristics that identified it as ‘for a certain market’ were stripped, and replaced by characteristics of the client’s market. Thus, Pink Spoon Marketing for Therapists became a version unto itself, sold and profits kept by a client, who bought the rights to package and sell within a few set parameters. The contract was a licensing agreement which as you may know is pretty flexible and can be co-created.”
Element #29: Lead Sharing. Andrea J. Lee explains, “In about 2014, I taught a class called Leading with Livestream, to introduce a new method of delivering content, teaching how to use the tech in a teacherly, coaching-friendly way. I shared leads from that student list with a client who had a service that delivered tech services for livestream events. This was done with permission from students. Other examples of this include hosting a telesummit with clients, or doing a blog carnival with clients, or other lead generation project, just in a shared way.”
Element #30: Sponsorship. Andrea J. Lee again, “At several of my events in 2014-2016, a couple of high end clients had offerings that I endorsed to my community by word of mouth. They asked whether I would sell them sponsorship status at my events. They had different ideas of what this could look like exactly, such as real estate in workbook or slides, a 10 minute spotlight from stage, a sponsored section of the training.”
Element #31: A Box in the Mail. Could you send them printed, hardcopy versions of your materials instead of just ‘another eBook’? Let’s say you do ayurvedic nutrition focused on people with fibromyalgia… well, couldn’t you send them a box full of spices, a recipe book, a book on ayurveda and another on fibromyalgia? Maybe tinctures and supplements, a meditation cushion and a yoga matt. Easy is the new free they say. For certain levels of clients they might get a box with refills every month or quarter of things they need or all at once. It’s easy to get lost in the online world and forget that people love to get things in the mail.
Lisa Cherney makes a fine point when she says, “I would add to all these features that the value is elevated when we can be specific about what they would use these access points for. Make it come alive.” I couldn’t agree more. Marketing is translating. You can do this using what I call ‘micro stories‘.
It’s also important to know that you can’t (and likely shouldn’t) try to weave in all of the above. Sometimes less is more. Easy is the new free. Simple is a gift. I’d include the minimum you need. We don’t want to overburden and confuse them with too much help.
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