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Let me tell you a little story about a lady who, in some circles, is considered to be the Oprah of the Internet. She’s famous for her long thick brown hair, some wacky-yet-highly-informative weekly videos, and a not-so-little product (with a name that rhymes with Schmee Schmule) that has made her millions. We’ll call her M.

M was once a hip-hop dancer with a dream (like most of us…. um, the dream, not the dancing). Anywho, M’s dream was to be a life coach. Well, to save you from the massive suspense, she became that life coach and then some. Oprah, Tony Robbins, and Richard Branson have all endorsed this long haired beauty. Today, according to Forbes (yeah, Forbes), M runs one of the Top 100 Websites for Entrepreneurs.

So how did M go from high tops to high dollars?

  1. A product people wanted
  2. Workshops that raked in the dough

Assuming (since you’re here) you’ve already covered point #1 and have a product people want, let’s figure out how to tackle that whole second half, shall we?

While a powerful opt-in and an email series that teaches your readers everything you know are a great foundation to creating revenue from your product, growing that revenue can often be a challenge. Where do I find new customers? How can I be of service beyond my emails? Who’s ready to buy right now?

Navel gazing has never helped anything, least of all selling your products. So in order to have an impact on your bottom line, it’s time to “get out of the building”.

It’s time for workshops.

Workshops, both live and online, can dramatically increase profits and build scale into your product based business. You can reach new audiences, inspire action, and teach even more than you already do.

For the last 5 years, Tara Gentile has been running workshops all around the country. And while her business model has shifted over the years, workshops have been a foundation of her business all along.

Over the years, Tara has run a variety of workshops, webinars, and teleseminars and has said:

[They] have been one of the most effective ways for growing my business coaching practice, practicing public speaking, and educating my customer base. I now have a system that puts the promotion in the hands of my audience and maximizes the return on the time invested.

Well that’s 7 words I want to hear again:

Maximizes the return on the time invested.

If there’s one thing I know we could all use more of, it’s TIME.

So first, choose a topic. That topic will likely fall into one of three categories:

  • The material I want to explore further in the pre-product phase.
  • Information that’s valuable on its own but makes a great introduction to a paid offering (my own or someone else’s).
  • List builders, including big name interviews & free products.

If you want to explore material in the pre-product phase, you’ll first want to gauge your audience’s interest in what you want to teach. If you get a great crowd with lots of questions, you’ve got your answer. Similarly, if there’s just a feeling of excitement or anticipation around the event, you’ll know you’re onto something.

If you’re hoping to help launch a paid offering, your first priority should be teaching a very specific lesson from that offering and aiming to deliver results on just that lesson. Real results are really effective.

If the goal is to build a list, go for those topics that are going to allow you to make a name for yourself. What’s that thing that only YOU can bring to the table?

Don’t go reinventing the wheel

In the full version of Authority, our own Nathan Barry shares a bonus video with the story of Brennan Dunn. Brennan wrote a book called Double Your Freelancing Rate which was targeted at the entry point to his particular market. He quickly recognized that the upper end of the market, those who want to build agencies and not just remain freelancers, had a need he could serve as a workshop.

Since the book wasn’t written for them, Brennan built a workshop around this top tier of his market and priced his event at $1,000 per ticket (because those higher end clients are willing to spend more), with just 25 seats to sell. It was a 2-day workshop that sold out nearly immediately and left him with rave reviews. And for Brennan, it was an easy way to raise the price and lower the number of seats for more one on one time inside the workshop.

I hear you thinking “Look, workshops are a winning strategy, that much is clear. But HOW do I actually pull one off?”

Here’s exactly how:

  1. Pick your topic.
  2. Build your signup form and set up payments if it’s a paid workshop (Eventbrite is a great option for easy ticket sales – paid or unpaid)
  3. Write a blog post, share the workshop with your network, email your list
  4. For paid workshops, you may want to collect email addresses and then write a series that promotes the workshop and invites the reader to join you (more on that method here)

Once your seats are sold, a simple and cost effective solution to hosting the workshop online is:

  1. Setup a Google Hangout
  2. Create a dedicated landing page with an embed of the YouTube video (Google Hangouts automatically record as YouTube videos)
  3. Add a chat tool such as Chatroll to that page
  4. Invite your attendees to join you on the dedicated page
  5. Other great alternatives for your online workshops are Zoom or Just be sure to check into their setup for your total number of attendees and any other connectivity needs.

In-person workshops are also effective, though they tend to take a bit more planning and typically mean more overhead (read: less money in your pocket at the end of the day). You can view these workshops as part of your overall marketing strategy and be sure to really take care of everyone there. Try to borrow the venue if possible to save money and be sure to get lots of photos, video, and testimonials from the day for your use in the future. Make good on your promise to deliver valuable content and enjoy putting it all together!

It seems workshops are not only effective marketing and list building efforts, but effective revenue generating activities (you’re getting that, right? Good.) Since we’ve established that workshops are a good idea for everyone, I have just one question for you: when is your next workshop?

To workshopping it,

Val and the ConvertKit Team

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