Many of us make the common mistake of thinking more is better.
Rather than doing the work to determine your niche and ideal customer, online course creators often fall into the trap of offering as many courses as possible — without any real strategy behind them.
The problem is, this way of approaching content creation can lead to spreading yourself too thin as you do all the things, all the time. Inevitably, this is a recipe for burnout.
But what if there was another — maybe more sustainable — strategy? What if online course creators could focus on offering one core transformation through one signature, high-ticket course rather than constantly creating and selling new courses?
Jane Stoller, otherwise known as Organized Jane, helps entrepreneurs organize the backend of their business. After creating multiple, low-ticket courses, she was ready to take her business to the next level. Her goal: create and sell only one high-ticket course that would act as the backbone of her business.
“I didn’t want to overwhelm my clients with a million offers. They’re already overwhelmed enough; that’s why they’re coming to me. I just wanted to give them one way to work with me.”
Looking to streamline her knowledge and create something that intentionally targeted her ideal customer, she decided to purchase Sunny Lenarduzzi‘s Thinkific course, Authority Accelerator, to learn how. Through Authority Accelerator, Stoller learned how to package her expertise in a scalable, signature offer.
Read more: How to Find your Niche in 4 Simple Steps
The result: a high-ticket course called The Business Booster, which helps ambitious women organize their business, take control of their schedule, and maximize their potential as entrepreneurs. Since launching in May 2020, Stoller’s course has brought in up to $40k per month, and accounts for 80% of her annual revenue.
According to Lenarduzzi, a high-ticket course is one that’s priced over $500 and acts as a one-stop-shop for everything your ideal client is seeking.
“People pay for transformation, not information. Lower ticket offers tend to be information-focused, whereas higher ticket offers create an entire transformation.”
“I can’t tell you how many low-ticket courses I’ve bought and haven’t done,” adds Stoller.
For Lenarduzzi, gaining clarity on the power of launching a signature, high-ticket offer came after a burnout in 2017. “I was falling into all of the common traps of trying to create all these different products and offers,” she shares. “I really didn’t understand how to scale a business, and I didn’t have true clarity on who my ideal client was.”
This forced her to reevaluate the way she was approaching online course creation. “I made a very conscious decision at that point to simplify everything and only focus on offering one thing,” Lenarduzzi adds.
Stoller can relate to Lenarduzzi’s desire to offer just one thing — which is what led her on this journey to begin with. Now, she considers The Business Booster as her business’ “bread and butter,” and is something she wants to offer forever. She says that since launching her course, her business looks “totally different” — in the best way possible. Now, she’s able to focus on just one thing — a dream for someone who used to do all the things, like taking consulting gigs, teaching in-person, and building multiple courses that just weren’t generating enough revenue.
But the main reason Stoller was able to find success with her high-ticket course was because she learned to position herself as an authority in her niche.
1. Hone in on one idea
If you’re considering creating an online course, odds are you’re an incredibly creative individual with tons of ideas. Stoller was the same, and created multiple courses that touched on multiple ideas. The problem was, none of these ideas intentionally targeted her ideal customer — nor her niche.
Lenarduzzi advises that those who want to create a high-ticket, signature offer hone in on one idea — and do it well.
“If you’re trying to appeal to the masses, you’re ultimately spreading yourself thin and you get lost in a sea of a bunch of people trying to do the same thing.”
Honing in on one idea is what Lenarduzzi describes as vertically scaling versus horizontally scaling. “So often, people make the mistake of thinking that the more you offer, the more people you’ll be people you’ll be able to reach and impact,” continues Lenarduzzi. “But the more you focus on one core transformation, the deeper impact you’ll have on the people who need you the most.”
Not only does honing in on one idea help you to provide a deeper impact, Lenarduzzi says that it also helps online course creators run a highly profitable, scalable, and stable business; when you have just one, signature course, you can focus your attention on selling just one thing. This can help you deliver the best service and results because you’re not constantly trying to chase your next client with a new course.
Plus, honing in and executing on one idea is a surefire way to be seen as an expert. “It creates a clear narrative and idea of why you are the expert, as opposed to diversifying your attention between a bunch of different topics and categories,” adds Lenarduzzi.
2. Get clear on your own unique expertise
Everyone has a unique story of discovering their passion.
For Stoller, she found her love for organizing at age six, when she used to attempt to organize her pet cats by size on the dairy farm she grew up on outside of Kingston, Ontario. “They never stayed put,” she laughs. “But I knew then that I had the organizing gene.”
Throughout high school and university, she would spend her free time helping her friends get organized. In her corporate career, she leaned heavily on her organization skills to succeed. Realizing that success is directly related to being organized, Stoller launched Organized Jane In 2017. Through Authority Accelerator, Stoller was able to get clear on her story — with the purpose of using it to help others.
According to Lenarduzzi, this is a key piece of the puzzle to becoming an authority figure with a high-ticket course. “To be an authority, you have to hone in on what your unique experience and expertise is, and a transformation that you’ve been through,” says Lenarduzzi. “That makes you the only person in the world who’s teaching from that lens and has that experience to share with people.”
Getting clear on your unique transformation is also what helps you find your niche. “The old way to find a niche was to pick this broad category, like beauty or business,” says Lenarduzzi.
“The new way to niche is to own your story and experiences that only you’ve had.”
Lenarduzzi calls this the “zero to hero transformation,” in which creators identify who they were at that zero state and where they want to be at the hero state. “Everything in between is what becomes material to be used as a course curriculum to bridge that gap,” she explains.
3. Listen to your ideal customer
Before taking Authority Accelerator, Stoller was creating her courses from what she thought her audience wanted, rather than learning what they actually wanted.
“I did it completely wrong because I designed the course before asking people what they needed. I think this is a mistake that 90% of course creators make.”
When Stoller was in the process of brainstorming for her high-ticket course, she had to spend time getting clear on who her ideal customer is. Understanding what changes your ideal customer wants to make, where they’re at in their journey, and what they want to do differently helps you to speak clearly and intentionally towards this person.
In fact, Lenarduzzi says that researching your ideal customer is one of the most important steps to creating a high-ticket course, since understanding who you’re targeting helps you understand how to add value to their lives. “Building your audience with the intention of knowing who you’re trying to reach and what you want to be known for makes your audience so much more targeted and loyal,” says Lenarduzzi. “It builds this tight-knit community of people who are so ready to invest in anything you have to offer to them.”
Lenarduzzi had Stoller run through an exercise where she interviewed 50 people who represented her ideal customer. This helped Stoller learn exactly what her students wanted and how she could serve them best. It also validated her idea and helped her to create the curriculum for The Business Booster. “Plus, it builds a list of 50 potential leads to launch your program to,” says Lenarduzzi.
“It’s a lot of work,” adds Stoller, “but if you don’t do the work, you won’t succeed.”
This exercise also helped Stoller learn which keywords to use in her messaging, and how to intentionally reach her ideal customer. “When your messaging is clear, you bring in leads, you have sales, and you can build a team,” says Lenarduzzi. “It’s how you’re able to build and construct your entire business — just by having a ton of clarity on what ultimately you’re offering, and who you’re offering it to.”
4. Choose the path of least resistance
Once Stoller did research on her ideal customer and created clear messaging, it was time for her to show up on social media platforms.
Lenarduzzi says that understanding your messaging doesn’t only benefit you and your ideal customer, it also benefits social media algorithms. “The algorithm needs to understand who you’re trying to reach and what you want to be known for. That’s how it then helps you with internal traffic services to reach more people,” she says.
According to Lenarduzzi, creating a YouTube channel is like playing the long game. “YouTube is a way to give evergreen content,” says Lenarduzzi. “and if you aren’t clear on your messaging, you can screw things up for yourself.”
But online course creators don’t need to show up on all the platforms. For Stoller, she decided to focus mainly on two: Instagram and YouTube. Lenarduzzi advises:
“Wherever you may have an existing audience or whatever feels like the path of least resistance for you, focus on those one or two platforms. Just hone in on reaching out to the right people.”
5. Test your idea
Once you’ve done their required research on their ideal customer and have created a curriculum outline, it’s time to start selling the course — even before you’ve actually created it.
Lenarduzzi believes it’s important to test an idea before packaging it. That’s because she believes that the longer you wait to get it to market, the longer you’re delaying actual proof of validation, and the longer you’re waiting to scale.
With this philosophy in mind, Stoller began selling her course before she even had a name for it; at the time, it was simply a concept.
Before she created the course content, she told her audience that she was launching a course and it was an exclusive opportunity to become founding members. “I started selling it and was amazed by the response,” she says. “I held some live webinars — which are great for my sales funnel — and people showed up.”
With Lenarduzzi’s guidance, Stoller ran the first iteration of her program live in order to gain real-world feedback. Then, she packaged the program based on the feedback and intel she got from her students. This meant that Stoller created the course as she went, tweaking each next week’s content based on her students’ feedback, needs, and wants. “I would show up live every single week in my six-week course prepared, but I would prepare content week by week,” says Stoller.
Read more: How to Define your Brand Purpose
Now that her course is packaged, it’s an evergreen offer with six modules that are pre-recorded in Thinkific. Her students have lifetime access to her course, and once a week, she shows up live from 1 – 3 p.m. PST on Zoom. These Zoom recordings are then uploaded into Thinkific, so that students can rewatch them. It’s an application-only course, which also makes it appear to be a high-caliber offer. Plus, the price isn’t listed on her website; potential students need to book a call with her to learn more.
6. Advice for online course creators
When it comes to advice for other online course creators who want to create a high-ticket program, Stoller suggests that they hire a coach to help them get there. In fact, if she could have done it all over again, she would have hired a coach much earlier on. “I should have taken Authority Accelerator sooner, but the price scared me,” says Stoller. “But when you pay a lot of money for a course, you do every single step. Plus, I made that money back on my first launch of The Business Booster.”
She also suggests that, like her, creators do their research before spending too much time on creating their online course content.
“Make sure you’re creating a course people actually want to buy before you create it. Then, before you’ve created it, tell people it’s coming and that you’re working on it. This builds hype.”
The best thing that came from taking Lenarduzzi’s course? Stoller’s increased sense of confidence in what she’s selling; she has big dreams to scale The Business Booster. “Sunny’s made upwards of $10M from her course,” says Stoller. “I’d like to have similar success.”
“I’m putting all of my effort into this one course,” she continues. “Everything else will be secondary.”
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