We've done a lot, we have done our research, figured out our product, done the landing page, and we set up our email system, and now what do we do? Do we know if we should continue, or do we go find another idea, or, kick it to the curb, and say we're done? So we have to think about it like this, do we have enough evidence in this whole process of validating our idea have we got enough evidence? So, what do I mean by that? We talked about some of these far earlier in the class but as a reminder, do we have paying customers? Do we have repeat customers? Hopefully, do we have email addresses? Let's assume that. Do we have awesome testimonials? And do you have a group of people that trust you? Do you have emails from people like the woman that emailed me who said, "Every time you make something I get out my credit card, "I can't wait to buy it." That is the type of feedback you want, those are major, major validation points. But we have to look beyond just the data of what we're getting f...
rom our customers, we have to think about things like this. How much revenue did I earn? We're not going to go into business accounting right now but how much revenue did this generate? Does it seem like based on these initial numbers we could take this somewhere? How much profit, because revenue is one thing, but how much money did you have to spend to get to that revenue? How happy were people with result or outcome? Maybe you were able to mow their lawn and people paid you but if also people thought you did a bad job then that's gonna be a problem, that's why we want those testimonials. Then, coming full circle, thinking about you, did you actually enjoy the process? Did you like doing all this work that went into getting your business off the ground? Which was a lot harder than you probably thought it would be. Did you enjoy the process? Did you deal with the problems that came up really well or did you find that you were stressed out? Did you enjoy kinda solving things as they came up or were you just losing sleep and kind of second guessing everything, kind of figuring out was this a fit for you and your personality, and what the reality of getting a business off the ground really looks like? What went well in this validation process? Did you realize, like, wow, this whole InstaPage and ConvertKit is too much for me, it's confusing, I can't stand it, maybe that means if you continue with this you need a partner to help you who can do that stuff for you. What didn't go well? And what did you learn about the people and yourself? And specifically you have to think back to that why that we talked about in the beginning. What about that why still resonates? Did you feel like it's on track, that this business that you're creating is mapping back to that why do you think that it's going to help people in the manner that you want it to help people? Is going to maybe put you on the path to quitting your nine to five? Is it gonna help you generate enough profit to be able to save or pay off that debt or whatever it is? That's why we did the why back in the beginning so that before we really decide we're gonna go for it, we make sure that we are not going down a path where we're gonna hate our life in six months or something like that. So the next steps here are to continue to get tons of raving fans, great testimonials from our customers and do everything we can to give people a great experience. If people aren't happy with the lawn mowing then go back and fix it for free, go above and beyond with these early, early customers so that they love you. Also experiment with pricing, my pricing for that program I mentioned it started at $39, it's not $39 anymore 'cause I've been slowly increasing so you need to test your pricing and see what the threshold is or see if you can get creative with pricing and say if you buy 20 credits for lawn mowing over the summer you get a discount, so, get creative about that. Automate the parts of your business that are taking up a lot of time, we've seen that with ConvertKit, Calendar, Calendly, Zapier, all these things. And then if we really decide we're gonna go for it you need to treat this like a business and not a hobby and so that means setting some real revenue goals, saying to yourself, even if you're not sure you can do it, something in our brain changes when we have a goal so set a revenue goal with real dates. Also we need to surround ourself with other entrepreneurs because it can be tricky, it can be frustrating, there's highs and there's lows but when you can surround yourself with other entrepreneurs you can kind of benefit from when someone else is having a good day and get feedback. I, on my phone, I have a few little text message groups and other apps I use to communicate with different groups of entrepreneurs, I have my women entrepreneurs and my digital entrepreneurs, and we're always, even just last night, I was looking at a thread and some woman got a bunch of testimonials that were amazing and she said something like, "This is why I do what I do "because I see these testimonials," and I was kind of stressing out last night, and I thought, oh yeah, OK, that's why we do what we do, it's all good, so, it's that encouragement that you need, I think, in order to succeed. And then just become obsessed with your customers remember that you did that research in the beginning, it can't just stop, you have to keep doing the research, and strive to give them the best experience possible. And don't give up 'cause you will probably have some quote unquote launches whether that's a new addition to your product offering, you change your price, things like that, that's what I mean when I say launch, where it doesn't go well, and that doesn't mean the whole business is tanking it just means that that one thing didn't work out so you can't take that as kind of an indicator that it's time to pack up shop. But what if you didn't get any email addresses or what if no one would pay for the thing that you ask them to pay for. So here's some things that I think you should go think about if that's you. First of all, did you put enough effort into your survey? What if you only got 10 responses? Maybe that wasn't enough research and insight, maybe you should go back and do that problem survey, problem finder again. Maybe you should ask it to different groups, maybe you put it in out to the wrong audience, maybe you put it out and too many of your friends and family or too many people who are kind of giving speculative answers were filling it out and you weren't connecting with your true potential customers. Did you identify a true problem that people have? Or, and I say this because, I see so many times, people trying to almost make up a problem because they're so in love with their solution. So be honest with yourself, and think, OK, did people really have the problem that I said they had, or did I kind of fudge it just so I could complete this exercise? Did your landing page have a compelling offer? If not, go back and test the landing page headlines, test the subject lines, test the color of the buttons, things like that, and see, maybe the right people were coming to the page but the design of the page, maybe, no one could read the text. Maybe the email form was broken and you never tested it so go back through, and I wouldn't say it's a dead end, I'd say go back through and kind of audit where there may have been problems. And also, like I said, think about, were you trying to send the right people to your landing page? Because if you're not getting the right people in at the top, then you're never gonna sell to anyone so you need to make sure, were you spreading the word in the right places, generate Facebook groups? Is there some person that could have been an advocate for you who owns a Facebook group, manages a Facebook group, who could have kind of helped tell people about that landing page? Because if they told them, it would be a form of trust. Sometimes companies want to work with me to spread word about, say, their research software that people in my industry would use and part of the reason that they want me to tell everyone about it is because I have a tribe of people that trust me so you need to think, who could be a leader that you can go to to help spread word about your idea, whatever it is? And if you didn't get any sales maybe you got emails, but you didn't get any sales, I would think about this, and this is especially why it's great to try and do this over the phone. What was people's reaction to pricing? Was is it that it's too expensive, who knows what? What was the reaction of pricing? Did you try and experiment with pricing? Because the nice thing about doing it on the phone is that maybe you could tell person A one price and you realize no one's buying so you drop the price for like the 10th person you talk to, it's an experiment, and you have to see what works. Did you get creative with pricing? Did you maybe let people pay up front, with a discount, were their payment plans? Things like that. Definitely get on the phone, don't just rely on email because email, as great as it is, it's harder to build that trust, and it's a lot easier if you can do that on the phone with someone. Plus when you're on the phone with someone you can handle their rejection in real time, you can handle their objections, so if they say, "Well, I don't know if it's gonna be right "for my lawn because we're the special lawn," or, "I don't know if this is gonna be right for," whatever the objection is, and then you can kinda handle that and maybe that answer will help them warm up to saying, "Okay, you have a solution, I'm gonna buy it." And then did people give any other reasons for not buying what ever you are offering them as your product or service? But if you've been honest with yourself and you've done the research and you're really confident that there's a true problem that you didn't fudge it and make it up just 'cause you so wanna make your solution then you need to go back and think about what you can tweak in that whole process that we just went through in this course. Because being an entrepreneur requires that you are OK dealing with this never ending stream of problems. It happens all the time, nothing is ever perfect, when you see people, you know... Listen to people on podcasts tell about their great success you read something in the paper, or, even see people who go on Shark Tank who seem like they're killing it, it's an illusion, what you don't see is the real life, you just see the highlight reel, and so you need to know that the real life is debugging some issue on the landing page or spending 30 minutes on the phone with customer service or doing all these things that aren't always fun, but, I think that's some of the traits of entrepreneurs is that we love solving problems. So you need to be OK with this never ending stream of problems. And above all, you need to fall in love with these problems, you to listen to the numbers because the numbers don't lie, you to balance that with the research, what you hear from people, and then you try not to give up, and also find that tribe of people because that's going to be what gets you through when I know I'm having a bad day and I can text my group of women or other people in my industry, and get advice, or get feedback, or ask them if this idea I had was crazy or why didn't this work, that's when you can get out of your own head and kind of have a reset moment, which is so necessary especially, your mind's going so fast, you have all these ideas, you wanna get to the five year version that you need this support system to get you there. So, this last workbook here is really gonna help you go through doing all the things we just went through, brainstorming those landing page headlines, identifying your benefits, not just the features, doing the landing page, doing the ConvertKit, and testing it all to see if it works, and, like I said too, even though you can go copy these automations which I did for you, so you can literally cut and paste, I would really encourage you to go to set them up so you know how it works so that you can fix it later on, and just understand, because I think it's great to copy it for speed but if you don't understand how the plumbing then it's gonna be a lot harder and I won't be there to help you, so, that's what you should do next to go validate your idea and I would love to hear about any of your successes and things that come up as you go through this process, so, feel free to Tweet me or reach out to me and maybe I'll be able to purchase one of your products someday, and I don't know. (laughs)
Oh, we have a question, yes?
Thank you, this is a really good workshop, really lots of helpful information, very much enjoy it.
I have two questions, one is about experimenting with pricing, but my first question is about personalizing those mailing list emails. Like MailChimp allows you to insert first names into every email automatically. When I get those emails saying Dear Mikhail, I feel like I'm being misled because I know it was a computer that email it to me and doesn't sound genuine. What is your opinion about that?
So it's tricky because people today know that a lot of the emails they receive are automated so it feels a little inauthentic but I do think by adding the person's name it can help increase the chance that they're going to open that email. I don't have data to support that but I think if I'm quickly scanning through that that might jump out at me, but more than that, it's gonna be things like the subject line. When you look at an email you know how you can see the first couple of sentences? That's really what is going to jump out at me but I think, is it a nice touch to personalize it? Yes, is it going to have a drastic difference on your business? I don't have the data on that, but to your point, a lot of people are just kind of desensitized and know that it's just a variable that a computer shoved in there, yeah.
So my second question is about experimenting with pricing. I do industrial photography and I also do premium real estate photography and over the past years I've been increasing my premium real estate photography pricing to match the kind of services I offer and also I look at my competition and see what they offer. And you suggest that we need to find the threshold but to find the threshold we have to increase the pricing until we know where the customer's not buying anymore and that point we have to lower it and one of the rules that I've heard is that you don't lower your price, you have to kind of figure out your pricing. Because when you lower your pricing the clients will know that the services aren't matching up to your pricing so how do you find the threshold without having to resort to lowering? And the reason I'm asking is because I've... Week and a half ago, I did another increase in my pricing and then the bookings slowed down. So now I'm trying to decide... And there are many compounding reasons for that, the holidays, and, so if I should... What I should do about that?
Right, so, pricing is definitely very tricky and I'm definitely not an expert in pricing but someone told me a great quote years ago, and they said, "If no one is complaining about your prices "you should raise them." And my financial planner tells me this, all the women in my little Mastermind always say this and so, I'm in an educational process of my own of figuring out pricing, so, if no one is complaining, raise your prices, but the question is, how much do you raise it? And the thing... If you raise it right on your billing page, for example, on your website, then, people are going to know if they come here Monday and it's a certain price and then they come here Thursday and it's gone down people are gonna know that. Maybe for you, you could experiment with putting the pricing like in a follow up email after so not having it on your website that way you could test different pricing and you're offering real estate person client one this price and another client $500 cheaper or whatever the threshold is, and that way, everyone else is not seeing this pendulum of pricing happening if they happen to be coming to your website everyday and looking at the pricing page, which may not be happening. But that would be a way so that it's not publicly visible and you can be testing out pricing either through emailing people or on the phone, so on your billing page, I might say... Or, I don't know how your workflow is, but I might say, "Get in contact with me to get a quote for the project," and then you send them to a form, get information about the project so that then you can hop on a call and have a really focused discussion with them and then give them the price or send out a quote or something like that, does that make sense? So that way no one's seeing this pricing kind of thing that's happening, yeah. But it is difficult, but, I think a lot of times we just kind of undersell our skills and things like that, and, if no one's complaining, you gotta raise the price. Plus another thing, this is probably a whole other class, but, I think it's important to think about not just the pricing based on, well, I think it will take eight hours to shoot this location. That's great, that's time based pricing, but I like to think of it as value-based pricing and if you go do research about this on your own you'll find it, but, value-based pricing is thinking about if I take these photos for this person how valuable is that to their business? Obviously you're saving them time from doing the photos on their own but if the high quality photos are going to lead them to the ability to sell glorious new condominiums for $600,000 or something then the investment that they're going to pay you for the real estate photos should be something that they are not, you know, wanting to drop $500 on because they should see the value that the quality photos have on their ability to sell these condos that are hundreds of thousands of dollars, so, you should research value-based pricing for sure, yeah.
Awesome. Well, thank you so, so much,
Wanna make sure that everybody knows where they can follow you, so, show us again your website.
Yes, so, the best kind of home base for me is just to head to sarahdoody.com and then from there you can kind of branch off and if you maybe are an entrepreneur and you have an app idea, or a digital product or something, you could learn a lot about tips for that or if you're wanting more tips on designing things there's lots of different avenues to get in touch with me but I'm also on Twitter, I have a YouTube channel full of lots of user experience tips if that's your thing or if you're just curious about how to make a better experience, or, especially research, there's a whole playlist about research so, sarahdoody.com is where I hang out online and then I'm a big Tweeter, so I'm just @sarahdoody as well.