I’ll save the fluffy intro. Here are 12 things that have really helped me have an absolutely sensational 2016 in business, and that I will definitely be taking into next year – enjoy!
Have a really clear plan
A plan is not about writing a to-do list. It’s about defining exactly what every single day needs to look like for you in order to ensure that you get where you intend to go. If I want to make $100, I need to know precisely what I will sell, how I will sell it and how many prospects I need to ‘sell’ to in order to make that amount in sales.
Here is a table that I do every year, and also have a monthly and quarterly version of too – this has been critical to my own success. If you are not where you want to be financially in your business, I’d bet that you havn’t done something like this to help you map out your daily business routine:
I always start with how much income I want to make this year – and this needs to be an exact figure.
Your target turnover: $_______________
|Product or service
How many units you will sell
At what unit price
Total income for the year
|How you will generate the leads
How you will nurture them
How you will sell to them
How you will convert them
|How many prospects you will need to sell to in order to make that many sales
I base this on 260 work days in a year
At a 1% conversion rate
What happened to your target turnover number after doing this? Many people see from doing this that it’s easier .
- In the ‘objectives’ column you will need to list each of your income-generating products and services – one to it’s own row.
- Make sure you include how many units of that product or service you will sell, at what unit price and then tally up the expected income each will bring over the year.
- In the ‘methods’ section, you will list all of the different ways that you will collect your prospects, get in front of them, sell to them and convert them. Will you offer a workshop, get on the phone and do cold calls, content marketing, a Facebook group, run paid ads, attend conferences etc??
- In the ‘measurables’ section, now work out what each day in your business is going to look like based on your figures.
- I work out these numbers on a 260 working day year and at a 1% conversion rate from prospect to customer – mostly because it’s the lowest you can go. If I am basing my figures on the worst case scenario, I know my year can only get better than that if I really push.
Eg. If I want to get 300 clients for a particular service, and I plan to get them via cold calling, then at a 1% conversion rate and 260 working days in the year, I need to cold call 30,000 prospects and be making 114 sales call per DAY in order to meet my target.
This will tell me if my goal is realistic or not.
Are there that many prospects who’s phone numbers I can get?
Can I fit that many calls into a day? Could I outsource the sales calls?
Could I prospect differently?
Can you see how this way of planning now makes our goals very serious indeed? How every single day now has a clearly defined KPI, target or measurable that MUST be met if we are going to reach our goals?
Create a Collaborative Gift List
I wanted to give my audience a gift for Christmas, but I thought one gift wasn’t enough. And I’ve also found these days that people even get nervous of free stuff because they think that it’s going to be a trick of some kind.
So I knew I had to make it about more than just my own products.
Here is what I did and it resulted in HUNDREDS of new followers and new subscribers on my list:
- I did a call out on Facebook and asked if anyone had an online course, eBook or other helpful digital product that they would like to give away for free.
- I created a quick online form (using Active Campaign) for them to fill in with their product contribution and then collated all of the contributions into a single PDF – there were over 40 free online courses and eBooks in it by the time they had all been put together!
- The idea was that all of the contributors would then share the PDF of gifts with their own audiences – meaning that every single one of us would have the opportunity to increase our own exposure to each other’s audiences. All of our audiences would get a big package of free gifts and all of us would get more leads. It was a win-win!
- After sending the PDF to all of the contributors to do with what they wished, I then created a lead page so that I could share the gift list with anyone and everyone in exchange for their email address.
The results were that we all got lots of new followers, likes, leads and subscribers – all of whom were happy with their package of freebies! Here is the free list of goodies if you’d like it: www.sarahcordiner.com/xmasgift
Create a Podcast
For anyone wanting to become an authority in their industry, a podcast is such a great way for you to get there in 2017.
I have been meaning to do my [podcast] for such a long time, but life has always taken over – plus I had absolutely no idea what I was doing.
I met a lot of successful people in 2016 and asked them what contributed to their success – and for many of them their podcasts were top of the list. I knew I HAD to get my podcast out by 2017.
I read every blog article I could find on ‘How To Create a Podcast’ and followed every step they offered.
Within a few days I was up and running, thinking how it wasn’t as hard as I’d imagined.
I was ecstatic to have implemented yet another way of sharing my content with the world – but then it got unexpectedly better……
Within the FIRST DAY of going live, I made $588 in online course sales WITHOUT ADVERTISING. At that point I hadn’t even emailed it out to my email community – it was simply from posting it on my Facebook.
The thing that is most surprising about this is that at this stage I wasn’t even on an audio directory. I wasn’t yet on iTunes, or Stitcher or any of the other listed sites. The ONLY thing I did was put it on my (brand new) website and share it on my Facebook – with people who ALREADY knew me, knew my content and knew about my online courses!!! This is why it was such a surprise as I didn’t expect to make sales from people who already knew i had the course for sale – some of them for well over a year!
What it showed me, was that it doesn’t matter how many times you share your content – as long as you are sharing it in as many different forms as you possibly can. Some people like to watch videos, some livestreams, some like to read and others like to listen. Also, people are familiar with podcasts and so trust them.
Have you thought about creating your own podcast next year? I’m so glad I did it this year!
Below you will find links to my course creation podcasts currently live to enjoy right now….
|Ep1: The Edupreneur is the New Entrepreneur
Make your own ‘TV Show’
I’ve had the audacious (and slightly egotistical) goal of having my own TV Show for possibly as far back into my childhood as I can remember – and this, after 11 years of dedication to my industry it finally happened. Could you have one too? Of course you could.
As I’ve got older, my dream to present on television became less about my ego, and more about being able to leave a bigger legacy on earth by helping more people – and I knew that TV was a sure fire way to make a bigger impact.
You can now watch my TV Show ‘Course Creators’ free of charge on the app ‘BRiN’ (the world’s smartest artificially intelligent business advisor). It’s completely free, simply go to the app store and type in BRiN ai, or visit www.brin.ai
Of course not all of us are at a stage yet where we are being picked up by TV teams, as we are all in different stages of our journey, but you can certainly use a strategy that I did to get here and still get the beneficial results of helping others at a larger scale.
Here’s how to get ‘out there’ on video and work your way towards your own TV Show:
- Simply list down the top 50 questions that your audience ask you about your topic and film 50 short videos (2-3 minutes long each)
- Create your own YouTube channel (which you could call ‘<Your Topic> Show’ or ‘<Your Name> Show’
- Publish one of your tip videos every week and share it across social media.
- Make sure that your video answers a common question people type into Google and is titled accordingly with those keywords in it – this will make sure that it is YOUR video that comes up in search results. The person who has the answers to the questions is the one who is going to get the business if there is any to be had.
Create online courses
Of course I’m going to mention this one! But seriously, my online courses this year have been massive for me in many ways. I have made passive income from them for a start, but the biggest result is that they have also helped me open up a global marketplace. The majority of my sales made this year (for my courses and consequently my services) have come from outside of the country I’m based in – and I didn’t even have to change out of my pyjamas to get it to them. So, if you want to release yourself from a dependency on a local economy, creating an online course in 2017 is an awesome strategy for going global.
Creating online courses has also enabled me to get rid of a lot of those heart-wrenching requests from people to ‘take you for a coffee to pick your brain’. You know, the people who you would love to help, but you know cannot afford your normal priced services so they think a coffee is going to be a valuable investment of your time. As much as we want to help these people, we can’t go for coffee every day. We have bills to pay and 114 phone calls a day to make in between everything else, right?! So aside from the passive income and positioning, as well as having something to sell from stages when I’m public speaking or sell at the end of podcast interviews and as upsells from my eBooks, when people ask me for a free ride coffee, I politely tell them that I’ve packed my $2,500 consulting service into a $47 online course – cheaper than the price of coffee, cake and car parking if you took me out. The free loaders quickly disappear, the serious people are utterly grateful – and you feel good at having helped someone you would not have otherwise been able to help AND you got paid something for it. Everyone’s a winner. My online course ‘How To Create Profitable Courses’ continues to be a hit with thousands of students now enrolled and 100% 5 star feedback. I am in the midst of adding a major new section to this course – the step by step process of setting up your entire online school.
If you havn’t got it yet, you might want to take advantage of the fact that I havn’t yet deleted my black Friday coupon which gives you my ‘Course Marketing Masterclass’ completely for FREE when you buy the course creation course (you get lifetime access to both including all future upgrades): www.saracordiner.com/blackfriday. I will be deleting this link in the next couple of days.
Publish an Amazon eBook
I always wanted to be an author and in 2015 I published my first book on Amazon which went straight to number 1. I got my second book to number 1 this year too.
The biggest thing I learned from this is that it’s not hard at all to become an author anymore.
I found that as soon as you have the word ‘author’ after your name (let alone Number 1 Best-Selling author) with the proof to back it on Amazon – your bookings will significantly increase. I personally found that I was requested to be a speaker at more events, more podcasters wanted to interview me and I felt a subtle yet tangible shift in people’s recognition of my credibility.
Here are some simple tips to get started if you are thinking about creating a book of your own in 2017:
- Start by writing down 50 helpful tips on your topic
- Then expand on each tip with a thorough explanation
- Then add a story or case study that people can relate to that either matches the pain of NOT implementing the tip or the glory of putting it into effect.
- Then add a step by step process, model, ingredients or strategy for them to follow to implement it
- Then add an activity and a mini summary
Voila! You now have 50 chapters and a helpful book that people will love!
I’ve packed together everything I did to write my books quickly and get them both to Number 1 on Amazon – including all the marketing strategies I used in this ecourse.
Produce tremendous amounts of content
This has been huge for me this year. A LOT of my business has come because I’ve maintained a strong omnipresence in my expert topic online. Everywhere people go, they see yet another helpful tip from me. Videos (professional or just on your phone are great), blogs and articles, comments in threads, webinars, courses, eBooks, podcasts, image cards and social media posts are just some of the things I’ve done to make sure I am always sharing my knowledge and showing people that I know my stuff in the process.
Every single piece of content you publish can act as lead-generation and marketing material for you for the rest of time. Each time you put something online, you are adding yet another opportunity for people to find you and clearly see what your expertise is.
Producing content is like exercising a muscle, the more you do it, the easier it gets. You can start by sharing other people’s content to start – then start collecting the questions your audience ask on your topic and create an answer in written and visual form and share it on every platform. I have found that it doesn’t matter how many times I recycle old content, each time it goes out in a different medium it gets in front of people for the first time. There is no such thing as too much helpful content.
Ask for help
I always used to be afraid of asking for help, as I was scared that it would make me look like ‘I didn’t know what I was doing’. If I didn’t know soething, surely my audience wouldn’t want to buy from me?? I couldn’t be more wrong.
- For a start, if you don’t ask you don’t get.
- People are ALWAYS happy to help. T makes them look smart and feel good for contributing.
- When you have been giving a lot, you’ll be amazed at what people are willing to share back with you.
Blow your own trumpet
Ever wondered how all of these people you look up to get so many press and media interviews, or keep winning all of their awards, or score big contracts or get insanely awesome partnerships?? They vote THEMSELVES in.
Every award I’ve won is because I SEARCHED for awards, I nominated MYSELF or ASKED my clients to nominate me. I wrote up endless press releases and sent them out and never got discouraged when I had zero replies. I approached people I wanted to work with and asked to work with them. I told the world I was great at what I do and I SHOWED them by giving freely, delivering free workshops and pumping out content like there was no tomorrow. Everything in your business starts with you and if you do not have the confidence to stand up and stand out and blow your own trumpet at the stratosphere telling the world that YOU are good and your products and services are good, then how can you expect your customers to say or think that about you?
Chop down that tall poppy and stick it in your hair and show the world what you’ve got. Nobody else is going to do it for you. Singing my own praises on my own was awkward and uncomfortable. A year later, I have a beautiful choir belting out a harmonies all around me – all it took was for ME to start.
Be kind and loving
Who you are being is far more important than what you are doing.
It wouldn’t make the slightest amount of difference if I had the worlds best course creation services if I was rude, condescending or obnoxious to people. I firmly believe that it is strength, not weakness to show love and kindness to our customers – even friendship. When we die, it’s not our money that we count, it’s who we have around us. I’d much rather go with people saying that they loved me back, rather than that I was ‘good at keeping people at arm’s length’. Don’t just think about what products and services and income you will make next year. Add a criteria for success based on how many friendships and relationships you made where there is mutual admiration. There is no point having great services and a bank full of money if everyone hates you.
Systemisation and massive investment in staff training
Going back to the table above, one of the columns I add to the end later on is ‘How will this be delivered to the customer once they’ve bought it’?
We’ve had some pretty big staffing disasters this year at MainTraining – one when I went on my half a day maternity leave and thought my business was ready for me to leave it (I was wrong) and later this year when we had a major growth spurt at the same time as loosing two key staff (two client projects had the ball dropped on them and were significantly delayed in delivery). It was awful and we really let 3 people down this year as a result. But, these hard lessons have also brought some significant improvements to our systems and production processes too.
- Do you have a clearly mapped out journey for the development and delivery of your product or service once it has been ordered or paid for?
- Are you using automation tools such as online order forms, online quote request forms, online payment forms, a customer record management system, automated email sequences when people buy something,
- Do you also have highly detailed processes and procedures with training videos for your staff to follow?
- If you don’t have staff, how will you service your clients if you get sick, get more orders than you can manage (or drop out a baby?!)
Maybe 2017 is the time to start training someone up and automating your systems as much as possible.
Cut Back, Delete and Eliminate
This year I had a baby. It has been magical, but hard. My closest family member is a 6 hour flight away and the rest live on the other side of planet earth. I also had precisely NO idea what I was doing when my baby arrived (in fact, I’m still not sure if I do! :D). It has taken becoming a mother to really figure out what’s important. It’s made it a LOT easier to say NO to things that I used to say yes to, even when I didn’t want to do it. It’s made me FIRE over-demanding and unreasonable customers. And it’s made me ok with turning my computer off once in a while.
This has led to a happier existence and less stress from having to put up with jobs, tasks and people that I don’t like.
Which leads me onto my final tip – Create a Sh*t List for 2017….
I was sitting down doing my planning table, listing down all of the things I WANTED to get in 2017; when it occurred to me that there is also a list of things that I do NOT want next year. I started writing down all of the things in my business that had annoyed me, frustrated me, kept me awake at night, drained profits and made me want to boil my own head in acid.
Because sometimes there is much more to gain by REMOVING things from our lives. Less stress gives you more happiness. Less customers gives you more time and freedom, and so on.
Think about which products and services you could REMOVE – ones that you didn’t enjoy delivering or that caused you more trouble than they were worth or ones you didn’t deliver well; so that next year you can focus only on stuff you LOVE and stuff you are the best at.
By focussing on the bad performance and stress areas, it also enables you to analyse whether they were stressful because you have attracted the wrong customers, or if there is a lack of systems in the business, or your staff have not been trained well enough – or if you are just putting up with stuff that doesn’t make you happy because you havn’t stopped to realise that you can change it.
What is on your #Sh*tList?
These strategies are by no means an exhaustive list of tips and things I will be taking into 2017. However, I had to stop writing before this turned into another book!
I hope this has helped you in some way or reminded you of some things you already knew but just needed another nudge about before we move into a fresh year.
I have also collated some of my top business growth tips in my ‘#LevelUp Challenge’ – a rapid fire ecourse to grow your business in 4 weeks (and it’s only $47).
I’d love you to share what you will be implementing, adding, changing or deleting in 2017 in my Facebook group ‘Entrepreneur to Edupreneur’ – as you may inspire others by sharing yours!
Ending with an offer – I am after some people who would like to be my ‘marketing stories’ next year….
Not going to beat around the bush with what I am doing here haha – I know that the BEST form of marketing is ridiculously happy customers who have their own online schools to show off to the world.
SO – For a bumper start to my 2017, I need to make some more super happy customers with their own online schools to show off!!
To achieve this, I am offering up just 7 places on my ‘Online Course Prep & School Set Up’ package to people who are happy to be my celebrity case studies for 2017 on one of the following dates:
- Friday 27th January
- Saturday 28th January
- Thursday 2nd February
- Friday 3rd February
- Monday 6th February
- Thursday 9th February
- Monday 13th February
WHAT WILL YOU GET??
You will get your whole online course drawn up in a workflow AND your whole online school set up WITHIN ONE SINGLE DAY, one-on-one with ME personally.
I will connect up with you via skype and take control of your computer and DO IT FOR YOU while you watch and learn at the same time.
Is it free?
I am EXTREMELY experienced (11+ years), I know EXACTLY what I am doing and I’m brilliant at what I do. You are getting the best and if you don’t have a school finished and course fully planned out at the end of your day, I’ll give you FULL refund (but that won’t happen).
In 2017 this will be a HALF day service which at it’s full rate will normally be $2,997 USD. HOWEVER. If you are willing to be my case studies, have your finished school featured on my website and do a video of your experience with me, I am offering a FULL DAY for just $1,500 USD on ONLY the 7 dates listed above as a thank you for allowing me to make you essentially my marketing material (full disclosure!! haha).
If you would like one of the 7 places please send me an email with your preferred dates to email@example.com.
Here is some more info of what you get in this special
**PLEASE NOTE: Please only apply if you are ok to be my public case study. A lot of our customers ask us to sign non-disclosure agreements, which is fine for operations but terrible for marketing! So I am only offering this so cheaply because I want some clients whose stories I can share with my audience.
LAUNCH PRICE x 7 places only = USD $1,500
((Normal 2017 Price will be USD $2,997))
|One on one with Course Creation expert, Sarah Cordiner to get your course out of your head||✅|
|Ensure your course has ravenous market demand – I will give you some strategies for checking that your course will have demand||✅|
|Choose the perfect online course topic – make sure your idea is a good match for you , your brand and your overall business plan||✅|
|Plan your course workflow and build your course structure – draft out the order of your modules and lectures, give all your lectures titles and suggest where activities etc should go||✅|
|Determine your course pricing – we will set your prices on your course||✅|
|Ensure your course delivery will be engaging with the right mix of delivery methods – i will tell you which lectures will better suit video, text, downloads, discussions or activities etc||✅|
|Presentation and teaching tips for the filming – make sure you are ready to film your course and know how to follow your course plan when you film it||✅|
|Open and set up your own online school – you will be set up on a learning management system (LMS) called Thinkific – it’s the best one on the market right now, easiest to use, best features and best priced (I don’t have any ownership or anything of it, I’ve just tried a lot out and this one wins hands down – all of my own courses are hosted on this too). You get 3 months for free for being one of my customers. After the 3 months you will need to decide if you want to continue using it. If you do choose to do so, the costs for it will be your responsibility and done directly through them. The starter package is $39 a month.||✅|
|Brand your online school – add all your logos and colours etc so your school matches your brand.||✅|
|Formulate your sales page copy – make sure your course has a decent sales page||✅|
|Set up your payment and email marketing integrations on your online school – (I will connect your school to your email marketing (if you dont have this yet I’ll also help you set that up)||✅|
|Provide you with email copy templates and a workflow suggestion for your course email automations||✅|
|Set up your Zapier and connect your school with your email marketing software – this is an automation tool that you may or may not need; but if you do, I’ll sort it all out for you.||✅|
|Connect your school to your own website||✅|
|Lifetime access to 3 of Sarah’s online courses (Create Profitable Courses; Course Marketing Masterclass; Set Up Your Own Online School in 1 day)||✅|
[Contact me] if you would like one of the spots!