How to Get Creative for Customers


Value Pricing & Business Models for Creative Entrepreneurs


Lesson Info

How to Get Creative for Customers

Let's move on to the next question, which is finally what the heck is this thing going to look like right? What the heck is this thing going to look like? So the best way to design a product, not unlike the best way to figure out what kind of relationship you want to have with your customer, is from the perspective of the person buying it, the perspective the person using it, taking into account the unique skills of the person creating it, and this is often... These two things very often, don't go hand-in-hand, and that's when we start creating products, that we resent having to actually deliver. (laughing) All right? If you are not taking into account, both how someone wants to use a product, how someone wants to receive the value that you're promising, and how its easiest, how it makes the most sense, how it feels best for you creating it, you're going to butt heads. You're going to create real problems where there's resentment, there's frustration, you might run into financial probl...

ems, it might cost you too much, and not pay you enough. It's just it's a big problem. It's a big problem. So the best way to design a product is from the perspective of the person using it, taking into account the unique skills of the person creating it, alright? So if you think back to that one ad exercise, if you think back to all the kind of value propositions that we came up with earlier, all those answers to what is my customer trying to accomplish? What do I want to help them do, learn, change? Those are all opportunities to create new products, and sometimes you know, we can pair those things up, like what we did with Bridgette, and when we said you know, her customers want to change their eating habits, and they want to feel more self-confident, we make those two things go together, and that's fun. So this is a part when I'm going to ask you to think, and brainstorm on the format of all the new products that you could create, or the format of the products you already have. This is an opportunity to play with those different pieces of value. Organize, reorganize them, group them up, regroup them up, separate them out, let them play together, see what happens, all right? There is no right way to do this. This is again, an experiment, all right? This is an experiment. You will not get it right the first time. I have had to rejigger my business model, at least three or four times, and I'm very happy with where it is now. I also have no illusions about the fact that it's going to stay like that for very long right? My goal in building out business models now, especially with as long as I've been in business, is that each time I make a change, it's looking further into the future, but if you're in a place where you're unsure of certain things, you don't have enough information, you haven't played around enough, you should expect, you're going to have to play with this a lot, and you're going to have to make some choices that you don't have all the information for, and you're going to have to do experiments, that you maybe didn't expect to do. So just keep that in mind. This process gets easier, it gets more long-term as you go, but for now feel free to experiment, and this is a great environment to experiment in. You don't have to do your for real business planning here this weekend. What if you did your imaginary business planning this weekend, and you just have fun with this exercise or with these exercises, and you really thought about what could be possible, as opposed to you know, all those assumptions that we make, or those all those non decisions that we make all right? So that's kind of my disclaimer for this. So the ultimate format question, what is the solution going to look like? What could this solution look like? What could the solution look like? The goal isn't to come up with the right way to deliver it. The goal here is to come up with a bunch of different ways to deliver this value, and see which one you want to give a try, okay? Because if you force yourself to try and come up with the right way, I almost guarantee you you are going to come up with something that's already done, something that's already been tried, and you know, maybe that is where you end up. Maybe that is what really works, but how can you innovate? How can you change the way something's been done? How can you eat something genuinely new, if you don't give yourself the challenge to think about what it could look like, as opposed to what it's supposed to look like, alright? So again here's some questions to consider, as you consider the format of your product. What could this solution look like? What features could provide the benefits the customer is looking for? You know this difference between features and benefits right? Features are kind of the physical manifestations of the product, or the particular deliverables. The benefits are what actually helps your customer accomplish. It's that benefits are pretty equally tied to value all right? It's how your customer values your product. So what features could you use to deliver the benefits the customer is actually looking for? What if instead of starting with features you started with benefits, all right? That's that function first idea, instead of format first. If you start with the features, ooh I want to do this. I want it to have this, and it's got to do that. (stammering) Format first. You're starting with your features. If you start with your benefits, you're creating something that's really easy to buy, and you're giving yourself the opportunity to make something really creative, really something innovative, something new. So what features could provide the benefits your customer is looking for? How does your customer want to relate to the product or service? Is this an heirloom? Do they want something kind of transformational, or do they want something that's grab-and-go? So very similar to the relationship question, but how does your customer want to relate to the product or service? Is this a high end, high touch solution? Is it a low end, transactional solution? Is it something that's going to take time, and energy, and personal investment, or is it not? And then the last question is a real opportunity to get creative okay? What's the 10 times solution look like? 10 times bigger, 10 times more expensive, 10 times more transformational, what could that look like? If you had to make something 10 times than you've ever made before, what would that look like? What could that look like? And the flip side of this, what's the one tenth solution? If you had to make something one-tenth smaller, than you've ever made before, one-tenth less expensive, one-tenth as transformational. No that's not a good idea. (laughing) Though it could be. It could be. What would that look like? What could that look like? By giving yourself these kind of unique design challenges, and you know you can actually Google design challenges, and you'll come up with more questions like that. By giving yourself those unique design questions, you're challenging your brain, you're giving your brain context to be more creative. It's that old saying with a blank slate is actually really hard to come up with. It's hard to be creative with. A blank piece of paper. That's hard. I mean it's hard for a lot of us at least. Artists you don't count. (laughing) But that blank piece of paper is really hard to come up with something new, something really creative with. If you give yourself a box, if you give yourself some context, if you give yourself some guidelines, suddenly you start to know when you want to break the rules, and when you don't want to break the rules. You start to see pathways and connections, where you didn't see pathways and connections before. So design challenge questions, like what's the 10 times solution, and what's the one-tenth solution, can help you approach value in a brand new way. So you can format it in a brand new way. You can deliver that value in a brand new way. How do we do this? Let's revisit the want ad shall we? Alright so last we visited our want ad, we had a frisky fun dog owner, seeking daytime fun for pooch. Interests should include rubber balls, squirrels, and cuddling. All right, what are three ways that could look? What are three ways we could deliver this value? One, doggie daycare. Drop pooch off at doggie daycare. There's an outside area. It's got trees. So you can believe there's squirrels, and there's lots of loving doggie daycare assistants that come in and cuddle the pooches, which sounds like an amazing job to me. All right that's doggie daycare. Then there's doggie nanny. This is a high-end service. This is the doggie nanny that comes in, and spends let's say two hours a day, in the middle of the day, with pooch, and pooch gets to go on a walk, and goes to the dog park, and plays with his rubber balls. He gets to chase some squirrels, and of course when we come home from the dog park, all we want to do is cuddle. What's a third way this could look? What's a third way this could look, anybody? Play date? Doggie play dates, I love this! Okay so it's a matchmaking service. I can see it now. Okay so this is a matchmaking service, between frisky fun dog owners, who want to get their pups together during the day for play, and maybe they also hire a doggie daycare nanny. I'm not sure. Maybe you know it's people who are working on the weekends, versus people who are working during the day, or working during the day versus working at night, and so there's that opportunity, to have the doggie play date at one person's house, and then have the doggie play date at the next person's house, but it's a matchmaking service. So frisky fun dog owners can come together, find like-minded souls, get the dogs together to play with their rubber balls, and the squirrels, and the cuddling. Everybody's really happy. So we've found three completely unique ways, at three totally different levels of cost and format, to solve this problem. Maybe doggie daycare is a weekly fee, it's recurring. You pay for a certain amount of time at the doggie daycare. Doggie nanny man, that is... Maybe she's a household employee. Maybe you're contracting with her, but she wants top dollar, and your dog is worth it right? And doggie matchmaking service, maybe that's five dollars a month you know? What do you pay I guess that's like $30 a month, but still way way way lower then doggie daycare, or doggie nanny. So you have three different kinds of customer relationships, three different kinds of formats, and three different price points. Make sense? They've all delivered the same value, but they've catered to different kinds of customers, they might have catered to different kind of working styles. So doggie nanny, she loves delivering luxury services. It is her job to think about every single detail of the doggie experience right? Doggie daycare, that's a little bit more like DIY. It's a little bit more adventure. It's a little more rough and tumble right? And then doggie matchmaking, that's really DIY right? So different kinds of values, different kinds of formats, and it's all dependent on how the customer wants to interact with the service, how the customer wants to receive this value, and it's dependent on how you want to deliver the value, what your unique skills, and strengths, and passions are, what your way of working is best. Does this make sense? Sweet, let's do a hot seat. Brianna you're up. (audience applauds) Well that's encouraging. (laughing) All right so... We need to go back to your want ad okay? Okay I'm there. Sweet you're on top of things. I am not. Okay so describe your customer again for us. Okay so young female athlete. Whoops I spell... Yeah young female athlete seeks... A relatable mentoring coach. Okay let me stop you right here, because I don't think she's seeking a coach. I think this word is really key, mentoring. What does she want to get out of the mentoring? I guess direction. Okay. Advice. Support. Support. Confidence. Maybe a push? Yeah okay. Accountability? Yeah. I'm trying to think of all the things a coach does. But see what happens when we remove this. That's a format word. Does that make sense? Yeah. Because now if young female athlete seeks mentoring, that provides direction, advice, confidence, support, push, and accountability, we can start brainstorming ways that that solution, could be provided, but let's do the three details first. What are her other interests? What are her other values? What other unique qualities did you choose to put in your want ad? That she wants to build stronger relationships with herself, her peers, and her parents. Okay. Ability to make positive life decisions. Great. And to turn self doubt into self-confidence. Self doubt into self confidence. All right. Should I make them longer so you have to do that? No please no! All right what are three different ways? What are three different kind of formats, that the solution could take? So I was already kind of thinking of doing this, and it like a small group program. It'd be like six to eight weeks. Small group of five girls working together on all of these things with a trained facilitator. Great okay. So that's one way, and another way, I was just thinking when you were doing that whole spiel was, online video series. I've seen some YouTube video series just take off that these kids watch, and I've seen them, because they showed me and I was like this is trash. I mean what if it was actually useful! Then I can only imagine the possibility. And then the last one would be like a year-long program. So that one's more depth, and you would have more trained facilitators to take on more groups. So it'd also be bigger and wider reached. Okay so this is wider. Yeah that's the wider. Cool. Alright tell me what is... So young female athlete is a pretty big... Okay and that's fine. So tell me how each of these different formats, shifts this a little bit. What are the different values that a girl, and her mom let's say, are interested in, that would really want that small group support? So for instance there's one girl, who her dad has cancer. And her mom, I coach her. So all these girls, there's about a hundred girls that I coach, that are in the program, and we want to develop other ways for them, to become better people in general, and to help them through issues that they're facing. Most of them are middle school students. So they're in that awkward emotional physical phase. Yeah that's awful. So a small group would be good for anything that's tragic that's happening right now, issues she's having with friends, academic issues, even I guess her peer pressure. I mean all those things that they're dealing with. What about specific goals. Like my thought here was, if a girl or her parents have the goal of say, getting into an Ivy League school, I would want to invest more for more time right? So high goals. And with that I was actually thinking, for the year-long program, is more geared towards girls who are out of middle school, and are now in high school, and trying to figure out what they're going to do from there. So this is kind of like an age. And this one's a longer decision-making process of, what do I do need to do right now, if I want to play college soccer, or if I don't wanna play college soccer, but I want to do something along those lines? So like bigger decision. Yeah. These are like life decisions goodness gracious. And this is also... So then this is almost like ongoing support too. So this is kind of a back-end offer. It's something that... It's almost like a graduate program. Definitely. Cool. And then they could go back in through the system, and help other younger girls, and be mentors to, and that's a whole nother aspect. Yeah great. So then the online video element, is this paid or is this free? I would say no. Just be like the free, the one-tenth solution where you know, you could get I guess money from ads. I don't know how you monetize that. Maybe you don't have to but, and that would be more of a fun series, of maybe a lot of girls who are in the program, that are talking about how it's going, and what they're getting out of it. Love it. So you've got kind of a high end solution here, you've got a long term solution, that's a bit more leveraged right? And then you've got a free solution here, and none of these are stepping on each other's toes right? Even though you're delivering very similar value in all three of them, you've got this working in a system, where people can enter your business through the online video, then they can join a small group led by a facilitator, and then when they've graduated from the small group, they enter the year-long program. You're accomplishing the same goals, you're keeping your customers along for what? Almost six years maybe, potentially? And you've got this great way of getting people in the door. Cool. Questions? No that's awesome. Okay awesome. Good job. Thank you. (audience laughter) Good job. Alright well I think this is a good time to... Oh, it's a good time for a share. Yes okay. (laughing) So the share for this... For this afternoon, this is our last share of the day. So on Twitter, #taraLIVE, in the chat rooms with the guys, what new product or service idea did you come up with today? What new product or service idea did you come up with today? We talked lots about different ways that you can deliver value, or that you can create value, I'm sorry, for your customers? We've just spent some time brainstorming different ways you could deliver that value. So what are all the different formats your value could take? What kind of solutions could you create to these problems? I would bet money you've got an idea for a new product or solution today. I know the guys do in here. So I really want to hear from you online as well. What new ideas do you have? So let's hear it from you guys first. What new ideas for products or services do you have? Shauna I'm going to start with you. All of these I've kind of had before, that just kept becoming clear. Let's pick out one that's really becoming clear for you. Down the road retreats. And that's that's definitely down the road a little ways, but you know everything from you know, the range of free stuff, which is a free mini-course, to an e-book, to in-person support, and larger courses, to retreats, and like it's really cool to see the whole gamut, that all support the same thing, but at different stages of their life. It's really cool. Awesome so let's pick on that retreat just a hair. What kind of relationship is someone looking for, or would you want to have with someone, in a retreat type scenario? It would definitely be a lot more intimate, and it would be predicated on all of probably, a lot of work with me before hand, and they would trust me to go into that really intimate space, because I've already been in an intimate space, whether it would be coaching, or being present at their birth, or whatever. So it'd be something... I first see it probably more in the... I'm already a mommy, and now I'm getting back to who the hell am I? You know what's my identity away from being a mother? How do I tap back into that? Yeah I love that. So not only is it a very intimate, personal, one-on-one relationship, but it's the result of, a longer-term relationship with you, and understanding that you know, to get people to go on retreat with you, you need to develop that relationship through other products and services, is really good to know. It's hard to just enter the retreat market, for instance. In fact it's near impossible. Okay so you know considering your business model, to lead you up to that, I think is a really great idea. Excellent. Sasha, any new ideas from you? Well I'll just say I've had that experience, as someone who took an online class, is now coming to Buenos Aires with me. So it was cool to see that journey. Well I think that it's similar that, an idea that's been kind of percolating, has become a little bit more clearer, as a possibility would be, to offer a combination of private coaching, and a travel adventure, that might even be just one person. Got you, so it's a full kind of package? Yeah really make it exciting. Have all kinds of experiential things that go along with the coaching. Fantastic, love it. That's a real 10 times solution huh? Very cool very cool. Bridget? Something that centers around helping people with their eating, and like figuring out a solution to like, making simple like dinner, but I want to tie it into... Like a bigger picture. So I still need to figure out how to do that. Sure sure great, but it sounds right on track, and it sounds like maybe even a great kind of introductory offer. Beautiful I love that. I think one of the tricks with introductory offers, and this is kind of very practical, is that you almost don't want to tie it too much into a big picture, because that big picture can be a little overwhelming, and it can actually make the offer harder to believe right? So just like we said about... There was something about changing your eating habits leading to career change, or personal transformation, or something like that. Just like that was kind of not... It hurt the credibility potentially, of your one ad there. You want to make sure yeah, you want to tell a bigger story absolutely, but you really want to focus that value, on something super practical, super tangible, something easy to achieve, because that helps... Then when you actually deliver on that, it helps build immense trust. So even though it's a little step in the right direction, it actually feels like a much bigger step. Okay, make sense? What answers do we have from online? We've got some great ones actually. I'm not sure I'm going to say this... Pena's Eon, I think it is, says they're going to have a new service, to create an online community for their customers. And K bears something very similar. They're going to create a free how-to guide for their customers, and an insider's group for their most valued customers. I like both of those ideas. Questions? We covered a lot of territory today. We went all the way from introduction to business models, all the way into thinking about new products that you could create. What questions do we have? Let's go who's in first. I couldn't really think of any. New products? Yeah I mean and I could, but I don't know if I want to do them. That's fine. One is good to brainstorm things you may not even want to do, because then you're constantly trying to think of new possibilities. It's just a good headspace for you as a business owner, to be going into every so often. So yeah for you guys online, if that's something that you ran into as well, that may be nothing new came up today. That's okay. That's okay, or maybe you came up with things that you don't want to do, or that you say well I could do this, but that doesn't really make sense for me. It's good that you were thinking about... That doesn't really make sense for me, or I don't want to do that. That's excellent. You know again, don't overthink it, for those of you that are makers, for those of you that are designers, maybe you've got a line that works really well, and what you need to do instead of thinking about new products, is just thinking about the answers to these other questions, that are helping you tell a more kind of detailed, more in-depth, more consistent story, so that when we bring pricing back into the picture tomorrow, you can feel even more confident about that. Cool? Excellent. Shauna? So originally I've been working on, kind of a freebie to help build my list, and my reach, and I thought it was going to be an ebook, and then I had the aha moment, that it needed to include video to start a relationship with me, and so then it turned into kind of a week-long mini course, and now actually just recently, talking with some of the girls yesterday, I'm realizing I might need to space it out. Not every day, because it might just be too much, which would probably extend it to you know, an email once a week for six weeks. It would be free. Maybe it would become a little small paid mini course in the future, but I'm really trying to build a relationship with me, and trust with me, but I'm just wondering your ideas, if you know what you think about that idea. Is that too much? Is that you know? What do you think about that? I think one email a week is not too much. One video a week is not too much. I do agree that things can be very overwhelming. I also know that you know, we talked about on day one, that a lot of times people value free stuff, less than they value paid stuff. It doesn't mean you don't give your all to the free stuff, but it means you make it as easy to digest as possible. I'm not opposed to a free course, something that's delivered over time, but I think that maybe you might be overestimating the necessity of time, in creating a relationship with you, and that if you're doing you know, regular blogging or regular emailing, as I hope that you are in your business, that can take the place of developing a relationship with you over time, but that breaking whatever it is that you're delivering down into one piece, one thing that that day they download, and it gets them results, that they spend 30 minutes with it, and they have an aha moment. That can actually create more trust for your customer, which is the jump start of any relationship, than delivering value out over six days, or six weeks sorry. (laughing) So whether it's two weeks, whether it's six weeks, I think doesn't matter so much, as whether you're giving people a jumping-off point, for that instant trust with you, and just like I was saying to Bridgett, make it super tangible. Teach them something immediately. Change something for them immediately. Give them a new way to think about something immediately, and then let the rest of your marketing system, your communication system do its job. You know like I said, it's not that I think a six-week course is a bad idea. It's just a lot of times they think they're more work than they're worth, and they're not actually that valuable for your prospect, because your prospect isn't assigning that much value to it. Right well and I gotta say, I make courses a little... The wording is a little much for what it is. I mean it would be more of like you know, a five-minute video, and a corresponding like you know, worksheet with some practices they could put into, but giving enough time for them to kind of test it out. You know very simple. It may take 10 minutes a day to get to you know, test them out, but giving them time to kind of see the benefit in their life. And how many of those do you do yourself, that you stick with from beginning to end? How many do you sign up for, and then stick with from beginning to end? I have yeah. All right. So maybe your customers will too. A lot of times I see people not doing that. That's the only reason I ask. Okay? But yeah that's my thought. Cool Sasha? What are your suggestions for testing out these ideas, in a lightweight way, because you know, making something happen, even to build a page, to test it out in a formal way can be a lot of work, or it can be very simple with you know, here's something and a MailChimp signup for more info, but I mean it's, as a business owner or entrepreneur, I have so many ideas, but I know how much... An idea is not valuable. Execution is valuable. So tomorrow we're gonna do a lot of planning in the afternoon, but what I would... For just for today, in the context of that question, I would say, what would you be really proud of having created, six months or a year from now? What would make you really happy to have done, to have gotten your business to that point? And I would focus on testing that idea first, and there are lots of different ways you can test it. You can test it with something as simple as like a MailChimp form, like you said. You can test it with a sales page, that has a contact me for more information button, or a forum, an opt-in forum on it. You can test it with invitations, where you you know, email individual people, or you call up individual people, who bought from you before, and you say, this is what I'm thinking about. On a scale of one to 10, how in on this are you? You know I did that recently. I'm hosting a field trip from Portland to Astoria in July, around a really popular conference, and so I didn't know if I wanted to do... Like I knew I really wanted to do it, and I knew I'd be really happy with myself if I did, and it would just make my life so great, but instead of even going through the effort, of putting together a sales page, or putting together a specific offer, I posted on Facebook and said, hey this is what I'm thinking. I ran some quick numbers. It's going to cost $125. It's going to include this, this, this, and this. How many of you would be interested? On a scale of one to 10, how in are you? And I got overwhelming support, which led me to you know, create an event right form the next day, and put it up for sale, and it's already a quarter of the way sold out, and it's not until July, and all I've done is you know Facebook it. So yeah. So that's something really simple. Is it going to take a lot more time and energy to put together? Yes. Would I what I want to invest that time and energy, to put it together if people weren't going to come? No. So just that simple test even, of putting it out on Facebook, and seeing do you like this or not? (laughing) one to 10 are you in, was really helpful. So yeah but I would first start by prioritizing your ideas, and I think that that's really helpful no matter what you're considering doing. Yeah we do have lots of ideas, and for so many of us, it's finding the time or energy to execute on them all, so start by prioritizing. Where do you want to be six months from now? What do you want to be working on a year from now, and start by testing that idea. Yesterday we were talking about pricing. So for a new idea like the six to eight week program, you said maybe doing it free for a select group as a trial? Is that something you suggest for me to do with that program? I would say it's you know you could handpick, six to eight people who are going to... And not only the students, but handpicking the parents as well, who are going to be able to give you really constructive feedback, I think that's a great idea.

Class Description

Ready to reach your revenue goals with less hassle and more ease? Join CreativeLive for a class that will teach you the core pricing and business modeling skills every creative entrepreneur needs to know.

Business strategist Tara Gentile will take you step-by-step through the process of using multiple revenue streams to amplify the earning potential of your business. If you're operating your business launch to launch or contract to contract, this is the course for you. You’ll learn the principles of value pricing so that more customers are ready to buy. Tara will also guide you through the process of creating a business model that makes selling natural and sustainable. You'll never worry about where the next sale is coming from again.

By the end of this course, you’ll have concrete, easy-to-implement strategies for running your business with the business model and pricing that will help it thrive.