- Treat your 9-5 like your first big client. If you’re running your business as a side hustle, consider yourself the CEO of a company where your job is your largest client.
- Your earning potential is not defined by a job. Your salary at a 9-5 is the value you bring to that particular workplace, but it’s not the upper limit to what you can earn.
- Nothing is owed to you. Enjoy your successes without adopting an entitlement mentality.
- Be buoyant by default. If you get knocked down or feel like you’re drowning, be determined to pop-back up again.
- Treat your business like a civil engineer would. Understand how to remove bottlenecks and create pipelines that increase the flow of your performance.
- Listen to requests as clues for your coaching niche. If you want to add coaching to your business, pay attention to what your audience is asking that helps them in meaningful ways.
- Choose group coaching at the right time. Honestly evaluate the level of demand for your coaching and begin with 1:1 coaching until you have more than 5 excited clients looking to solve similar problems.
- Pick the right container for your coaching. Coaching in groups can look like virtual sessions, in-person retreats, short or long commitments, curriculum based, etc. — you get to pick.
- You are the curator of the content and community of your group. People will join your program based on your marketing, but stick around because of the results they get and the connections they make.
- Qualify your clients beyond their ability to pay. Be choosy about who you let in because their individual impact on the energy of the group is powerful.
- Price based on the sophistication of the problem you’re solving. How much you earn per client is determined by how well you can articulate and deliver on the problems your clients solve with your guidance.
- Bring tangibility to your program promise. Make the results your clients get as “touchable” as possible.
- Start with cohort-based enrollment. By limiting when clients can enroll in your groups, you, your team, and your clients can focus on the key features of your program without the expense of frequent context-switching.
Who is Jereshia Hawk
Bob Sparkins: Jereshia, thank you so much for joining me for this episode of The Lead Generation podcast.
Jereshia Hawk: Thank you, Bob. I'm really excited to be here and having the conversation with you today.
Bob: I cannot wait to dive into all things group coaching, and related ideas around marketing such a program. But before we do that, I'd love to have you share just a quick idea of how you transform the lives of the clients that you work with?
Jereshia: Yeah. One of the core higher level issues that we address is that I really do believe that entrepreneurship is the bridge to economic equalization, and figuring out what skill sets that you have from previous experience or traditional corporate experience, how those previous skills can be translated into an offer that you can sell, I think is one way that we help individuals close the racial wealth gap by helping them become profitable online coaches. So, we help our clients take their existing skill sets, identify an offer that they can sell based off of results they've gotten from their previous skill sets.
And the reason why I'm such an advocate for online coaching and online education is because of the low overhead and the low barrier of entry to get in. And if you're already overqualified, highly skilled, have a background of expertise, it's a really beautiful business model to step into that allows you to run very lean, have very high profit margins, and do incredible work, create incredible impact while also really changing the financial dynamic of your household and also your future generations.
Bob: Yeah, that's amazing. And I know that you've recently received some recognition from Business Insider, as well as a nice case study we have at Leadpages for having a nice million dollar profit year, which is no small feat. So, congratulations on that.
Jereshia: Thank you.
Treat Your Job Like Your First (and Largest) Client
Bob: And we'll talk more about how you did that, but anything to share for those that are just getting started of what's that kind of mindset that you might have had going into it where you're able to achieve that in a relatively short period of time?
Jereshia: Yeah. I think one of the first things when I was working in corporate America, like a mindset I had to adopt was looking at my job was just one client of mine, but myself, me as an individual, I was a company. I was the CEO of my company, and my 9:00 to 5:00 job just happened to be the largest client that I had in my roster. And I think recognizing that your job is work that you contribute to the world but it doesn't define all of who you are as an individual, was a huge mindset shift for me initially.
But secondarily is that your job may dictate your salary, but it does not dictate your earning potential. And I think understanding that mindset was also key for me in the beginning stages, because having control over your earning potential, and you may not have "control" inside of a 9:00 to 5:00 job, there might be systematic barriers, or whatever the traditional hierarchy is for promotions, or when you'll get paid, or how you'll get paid may be structured. But you always have the freedom.
You always have the choice to develop a skill set that has marketplace value, that you can increase your earning potential beyond your salary. So, those are two mindsets that I adopted early on that I think really aided in my ability to believe that something more than my corporate job was available for me, and that my earning potential was more than just what the performance raises or promotion raises might look like inside of the normal corporate setting that I was coming from.
Bob: That's cool. And nowadays, you get to give yourself a raise with another group program instead of waiting for that 3% or 4% to come along, right?
Jereshia: Yeah, increasing the profit margins allows me to take home more money, and it's always looking at how can we do more without necessarily adding more expenses. And I'm really looking at money in a totally different way now, but for sure.
Family Wisdom That Still Rings True
Bob: So, we do have a really cool case study that we did for you or with you on the blog. So, I'm going to leave that in the show notes. And I don't want to go too far into the bio for too much time, but I think there's two interesting things that I'd like to have you share with us. One is I know you were raised by your grandmother and your aunt for much of your youth. Is there any wisdom that they shared with you that still rings in your ears as you go forward in your entrepreneurial life?
Jereshia: Oh man. This was when I got in trouble, but this is wisdom that has held on to me for a long time. I was in early high school years and I got caught talking on the phone with a boy past 9:00 or something. This is before I had a cell phone, and you're using the house phone and then they pick up, and you just hold your breath as if adults don't know that you're on the phone. But after that conversation, my aunt sat me down and she was like, "Nothing is owed to you. Under this roof you have to kind of follow our rules and that's what it is, but nobody in this world owes you anything. We didn't have to take you in, we didn't have to raise you."
And it was a tough lesson to hear coming at that age, but that lesson of nothing is entitled for you, nothing is owed to you, that was something that I've held onto, which I think is really aided in my success long term.
I think that because of my upbringing and because of the dynamics... I had to grow up fast and grow up early. And the two individuals, my mom and my dad, the only two real individuals that had any true responsibility to my livelihood were not the primary caregivers for me. Everything beyond that just felt like immense gratitude, and effort is required, and nothing is owed. People are choosing to do this. So, I think that that really helped dismantle this level of, I think entitlement that I think a lot of people kind of run around with unconsciously or consciously, of good things are just supposed to happen to me because I do good work. And that lesson early on was like nothing is owed to you regardless of what you contribute or what you don't contribute.
So, I think that it was a hard lesson to learn at that age, but it was a lesson that has, I think really afforded me success because even if I have wins now, it's like, yes, we celebrate those wins, but the success of yesterday does not guarantee or entitle me to experience success tomorrow. So, that lesson has really helped me maintain this level of grit and daily excellence versus relying so much on a victory of yesterday doesn't necessarily mean I'm going to have a victory tomorrow.
And what worked yesterday, what might have went well yesterday doesn't necessarily mean it's going to be the exact same a week from now, a month from now, a year from now. So, I think that was a verbal lesson that I got, and I think probably another one, just because of my childhood and my upbringing, learning how to be buoyant and having buoyancy in life was what allowed me to navigate my childhood and navigate early adolescence without the normal safety nets that other people had just because of their maybe family support, or financial support they would get from their family.
I was my own safety net. So, a lot of my success early on or my ability to get through college, or graduate, or get my degree, or get my first job, it's like I would fall down anybody else. But I think it's like how long do you stay down when you fall down, and what's the speed at which you bounce back? And learning how to be buoyant very early on. I feel like my childhood conditions taught me that just through my environmental upbringing, but that's also I think really aided in my success long term is of course you're going to fall, but what's the speed at which you get back up? What's the speed at which you learn from what caused you to fall and be buoyant, pop back and keep going? Because that's just what's required. So, I think those are two big lessons that I learned from my grandmother, from my aunt, either directly or just through osmosis, I guess.
Bob: Familial osmosis. I love that, and I love this image of just popping back up because life will throw things at people. Perhaps those of you listening, you might feel like you are drowning in some area of your life, and if you are considering yourself as a buoyant person, I haven't heard of this perspective before. So Jereshia, thank you for that. That's really a beautiful way to think about yourself and your self-reliance. So, I really appreciate that.
A Practical Path to a Career in Engineering
Bob: You also went into a non-entrepreneurial kind of career. What got you interested in engineering? And any lessons from the first few years of your career there that you continue to take on as a business owner?
Jereshia: So, I used to play the game, the computer game The Sims, where you would make a family, and build houses, and they would get jobs and have careers, and I loved architecture. So, I would go online, go to architects websites, download blueprints, get The Sims cheat codes and recreate the houses in the game. So, I fell in love with architecture from an early age, and in high school, Mr. Wellman was my architecture teacher. It was an architecture and engineering class for juniors and seniors. And I took the class, and I never thought I was smart enough to be an engineer. I was like, "There's too much math. All I see is these boys designing engines for Mustangs and Chevys." And I'm like, "I don't care anything about engines." Which is funny because I ended up doing auto shows for Chrysler in college, which is another story for another day maybe.
But I never thought I was actually smart enough to be an engineer. But I went to school for architecture at Iowa State, and my sophomore year during my lunch break, I used to work in the alumni call center where you would get alumni to donate, during my lunch break I got the phone call that my aunt passed away. And during that phone call, my grandmother was telling me, at the time my cousin was two years old, that was my aunt's son. She said that you're probably going to have to be the one that ... My grandma at the time was 78 years old, and she was like, "If something were to happen, you're going to be the one that's responsible for him."
So, I remember being in complete dismantle and not being able to function for a week because my aunt had passed. But I was like, "Okay, Jay. If you're going to be responsible for a kid, you have to decide do you stay in architecture or do you switch your major to something that will pretty much guarantee that you'll make more money coming out of school?"
And in all transparency, I knew civil engineers made more money than architects based off of salary reports that were coming out at the time. And I was like, "Okay, what's the closest thing to architecture that falls into the engineering realm?" And it was civil. They still work with structure. So I was like, "Maybe one day if I ever get back into architecture, I can maybe go get a master's or something in it." But that was the only reason why I switched to engineering. I never thought I was smart enough, even though I was exposed to it early on. And there was a STEM program in Detroit that was really popular. So, I was familiar with STEM fields. I just never thought I was smart enough to do it. But my sophomore year I came back home, I finished school at Western Michigan.
I switched my major to civil engineering primarily because of the promise of what the salary pay would be, and I grinded it out for those four years to get my engineering degree, got a math minor because of all the calc you have to take as pre-reqs for engineering. But that was how I got into engineering. It was literally one of those other buoyant moments of what choice are you going to make?
Both options are hard, but pick your hard. And I picked the hard of getting the engineering degree versus, I don't know, staying where I was at but potentially putting myself in a position of financial struggle. And it was the best decision. I always say that the biggest blessings of mine have personally come through the moments of my biggest hardships. My aunt passing away was a monumental moment for me, but it was also the thing that switching my degree to engineering, I believe is what that changed my life in such a positive way.
Because getting the schooling of engineering, understanding the thought process of operational efficiency, and just understanding processes in a very meticulous way has aided I think in my ability to be a more competitive and strategic CEO and entrepreneur was because of that experience. But my senior year I had got some really great internships and I got a full-time job before I had graduated at a utility in Michigan, and my career at Consumers Energy, that was like my setup for me recognizing my greatness, and really me recognizing what I was capable of. So, I think early on in corporate, some of the lessons that I still take to this day is just ... I got exposed to a lot of different departments because I was in a leadership program. So, every six months we rotated and changed jobs, and I got really fortunate.
I got to see the insides of the strategy team, one of my mentors was the CFO and I got a lot of insight on how ... I learned early on, how does this company make money? What are the inner workings of how we make money and how does my individual role contribute to the bottom line of the organization as my little function as an individual contributor? And I think that mindset early on of you really have to understand the operations of a company to understand how it really makes money, and understand how does every individual role contribute to the growth of this business. And I learned that very, very early on in my career for the company that I worked at. And I think about my business that I have today, every job, every function, every hire, every system, every decision that I make I'm constantly thinking about how does this one decision impact all the tangential departments or the areas that it might touch?
And how does every piece of work that I'm doing, how is that contributing to the profit? How is that contributing to client experience? How is that contributing to future growth? That early exposure in corporate, and having incredible mentors, incredible sponsors, incredible leaders that poured into me has really helped take some of those Fortune 500 principles of strategic decision making, and understanding bottom line, and how things contribute to it to my small business today, like 100%.
Bob: Yeah. And it seems like you also have taken this opportunity to design instead of pipelines of natural gas and other fuels, to designing systems that allow profit to flow more freely, and know where the bottlenecks are, and where the opportunities are from a rapid flow, right?
Jereshia: 100%. Yeah. I think that that's a gift. It takes somebody else a lot of the time to point out in me. I was with a client yesterday at a VIP day and she was like, "You help people engineer their businesses. You are a true business coach. You're not just teaching a launch strategy, you're not just teaching one-lead generation strategy. You really understand the operational intricacies of a business, and the inputs and the outputs."
That's 100% my engineering background. And you have to be mindful of that in most engineering fields, because I was working on natural gas pipelines. If we weren't cautious of the inputs and the outputs and how we were operationally structuring something, I mean, that's a life or death situation for somebody. I mean, I know that what I'm doing now, we're not curing cancer, we're not saving lives or preventing death.
But that same, I think, commitment to the intricacies and looking at operational efficiency, and understanding, okay, there's all these output functions of an online business, but what's the operational dynamic and how do we optimize that to improve the output, and ultimately improve the profit margin, improve the client experience 100%. I'm like the engineer wizard of online businesses, I guess. But yeah, 100% it all correlates.
Bob: Right on. And now you're blowing things up in a good way instead of catastrophically. So, I think that's good.
Jereshia: Very true.
The Unexpected Birth of a Group Coaching Business
Bob: Right. Now, you mentioned already that you thought of your business as a client when you were working your 9:00 to 5:00, but I'm interested to know how did your idea of starting up a side hustle come to fruition? What was it, and how did you decide now was the right time for you to jump ship?
Jereshia: I started my first business in college. I ran an online e-commerce business because I ran out of financial aid my senior year. So, that was my first real toe dip experience into online business. I used Instagram to generate new business for the products that I was selling. And in a 12-month timeframe, I had made $50,000. So, that was mind-blowing. I'm like, "Whoa, buddy. There's a lot of money to be made in this online space."
But I had the business for a year and immediately shut it down because it served the purpose that I had opened it for. And then I just went off to corporate and started my career.
About two and a half years into corporate, I started rising through the ranks and a lot of my peers were asking me questions of how are you getting these opportunities? How are you getting on special projects?
How are you getting these mentors that you have? What are you doing that's working? And I just started recording live streams on Facebook. During my lunch break, I'd be sitting in my car and I would just go live on Facebook answering the questions that my peers had been asking. So, I started doing that on probably a weekly basis and just trying to be of support to my network, my local network that I had. And then eventually somebody started asking me questions about my previous business, and started asking me questions about goal setting, and achieving goals, and that type of thing. And a few months later, somebody eventually asked me, "Can you coach me, or can I hire you?" And I'm like, "I don't know what that even looks like. I don't know what that would mean." So, I just like, "Okay, let's do a small group."
I found six people, they paid me $180 for three months, and it was a weekly call. And it was like, "Anybody that has any goal, I'll help you accomplish it."
So, that was my first experience into online coaching and education. I had no idea this economy really existed. But over time, maybe a couple more months in I started getting into free Facebook groups, learning about this online space. And I started realizing, okay, this is a real thing. People sell digital products and digital courses, and there's funnels, and all the things.
I think I did what most people do in the beginning, I just tried to mimic what I saw other millionaires doing. Like, who's successful? I'm going to just mimic what I see them doing, which I think is a normal start but it's not the most strategic start because I was just all over the place.
I had no idea what I was doing. And then I eventually hired a business coach that really started to help me understand more structure and more formality of there's coaching, you can charge a couple thousand dollars for it, versus there's digital products and you set up these funnels, and you make all these things run.
It was about nine months into the business, I had tested memberships, digital products, digital courses, coaching. I had tested a lot of things and I had made about $6,000. And I had like a come to Jesus moment with myself. I was like, "Okay, Jereshia. Are you going to actually try to make this a real business? Or is this just this little fun thing you're doing on this side where it doesn't really need to make money, but whatever?" And I was like, "Okay, I'm going to go all in for three years on trying to sell something that's like a $3,000 price point or more, and figure this out."
So, that was nine months in. About another, to month 15. So, between month nine and month 15, that's when I got really serious. I started taking on private one-on-one coaching clients at that $3,000, $3,500 price point. And then right about month 12 or 13, I had launched something that was $9,000 for a six-month container. And I had booked over $60,000 in sales in one month.
It took me about 15 months and I built this bridge. I said, "I just want to put myself in a position of choice," because I didn't imagine me quitting my job. I had goals. I was going to climb the corporate ladder, I was going to be in the C-suite. I was going to figure out how to get to the top and then figure out how I could identify what are the unique barriers that women of color are facing, especially female engineers, that's preventing them from upward mobility opportunities.
So, I never thought I was going to quit. But when I made that much money, basically my entire year's salary in one month, I was like, "Oh, whoa buddy. Let me figure out this thing. I can always come back to engineering."
It was about a 15-month transition where I was still working full-time, and then I would be spending my evenings, and my Saturdays and my Sundays working on the business. Investing in coaching was pivotal for me, because it really helped me understand what was available, and what options existed, and to shorten my learning curve because I didn't understand this world. And to also help me see what my geniuses were, to see what my transferrable skills were and where my gifts really were. So, it was about a 15-month transition.
Identifying, discovering this world, and then me actually putting myself in a position where I felt safe, financially secure to actually decide to quit. So, at that 15 month mark, after I had booked 60K in sales, I decided to put in my resignation. And then it's just been like do-do-do-do-do since then.
Bob: Yeah, that's called a clue that some good things are ahead for you.
At What Stage of Business is Group Coaching Ideal?
Bob: I want to turn now to your entrepreneurial zone of genius, which is the group coaching concept. I want to dig into a few questions, but the first question I have is just around misconceptions. There are many people listening to this right now, I bet, who are already coaching. They're doing one-on-one coaching. They know group coaching exists. They might have even tried it a little bit. But when people think about group coaching and really going for it as a primary model for their business, what kind of misconceptions do you think they tend to have?
Jereshia: This is a really good question, because I think what gets clumped in most messaging and marketing that we hear is just it's important to go from one-to-one, to one-to-many models. And I agree with that.
I think when you go is where there's a lot of misconception, and the type of one-to-many model that makes the most sense for you and your business model, and the offer that you sell is where there's also misconception.
So, I think when does it make time to go to group? We can debunk that, because I think a lot of the time business owners, and this is what I see with clients, they're like, "Well, I need more leverage so I need to work with more clients in a shorter period of time to hit my revenue goals." Which conceptually that is accurate.
But when you think about is there enough demand that you have currently generated or that currently exists with your offer and for your brand or what you've been building, is there enough demand to continuously fill group offers? And if there is not enough demand yet, then I do not recommend people transition to group. I recommend that they charge higher ticket for their private one-on-one so they can work with less clients but still make more money. It's not scalable yet, but you haven't yet proved that you either have an offer, a methodology, or a program promise that has enough demand to create scalability in the business. So, if you can't get yourself booked out with three to six one-on-one clients, you probably don't have enough demand to go to group yet, unless you start maybe figuring out different strategies for lead gen.
But if you're already having a difficult time selling private one-on-one, I would say spend your time figuring out your offer, tweaking your program promise, restructuring your messaging and your delivery of that messaging, learning the skill of knowing how to articulate your value, and learning the skill of sales before you invest in anything else, to dial that in.
But to still capitalize on your time, just charge higher ticket, solve a more sophisticated problem so that you can command a higher ticket price point, and just focus on working with fewer people but at a higher price point. I think once you've been able to enroll three to eight private one-on-one clients at a $1,500 to $4,000, $5,000 price point, then I think you actually know that, "Okay, I have some legs here. I'm able to articulate my value well enough to attract these private one-on-one clients and convert them."
And then you'll start to notice out of all these clients that I'm working with, what is the common pattern that I'm noticing that I constantly keep repeating myself from client to client?
I'd say about 70% to 80% of the work that you're doing, if you're noticing a similar pattern or the repetition, then you probably have some legs there that, okay, this would actually make sense to teach in a group format because I'm basically telling these one-on-one clients to do the exact same thing 70% to 80% of the time. There might be some nuanced customizations, but for the most part they're all doing the same thing in the same order. And once you can recognize those patterns, those patterns now become the blueprint for your curriculum, because it's the same repetition. And you'll notice that for the same client, this tends to get the same result.
And I think recognizing that is an integral part of having a group program is actually having a process that, one, is repeatable, but is two, actually produces predictable results and similar results for each client that goes through it.
Knowing when to transition to group is important. And I think a lot of, what I've noticed, a lot of clients will sometimes pull the trigger too fast too soon on group, and it's like but they don't have the demand, they haven't yet validated the methodology of the process. And most importantly, they have not yet learned how to articulate their value in a way that a prospect is willing to actually pay the price that they're selling it at without discounts, without a ton of fast action bonuses, without, I don't want to say manipulate, but distract the client from the core offer and the core messaging that is really the promise of what their price point is supposed to be correlated to.
Which Group Coaching Model is Best for You?
Jereshia: I think when it comes to now that maybe you have demand, you've identified a process that produces consistent client results, and you know that offer, the other issue I see with coaches when they choose to go to group is what one to many model makes the most sense for the offer that you're selling? Because that one to many model could be a digital course, one to many model could be a group coaching program, a one to many model could be a in-person three-day retreat.
Knowing what container makes the most sense for the delivery of your offer is the next big question that you have to ask yourself. So, when we think about the difference, I think probably between the most too common is a one to many model of a digital course versus a one to many model of a group coaching program, that line of demarcation I think is where there's also a myth.
Or there's maybe misconception, because that a lot of clients in the beginning they just clump it as one and the same where it's like, well, I'm running a digital course, but I offer group coaching calls. So, what is my offer? What container is it? What's the true model of it?
I think when you're selling something that's $2,000 or less, it's typically more of a broad program promise, or it could be specific, but it's really pre-recorded documented or pre-recorded curriculum in a format where it's heavily dependent on the client, it's teaching the information.
The client has to watch the videos, learn the information, and pretty much apply it on their own. And even if you do Q&A calls or group calls in a digital course format, the coaching isn't really supplementing the curriculum. It's still heavily dependent on the student learning the information on their own, and being sophisticated enough to know what questions to ask. But most digital courses we see are priced at about $2,000 or less. It's typically a more broad offer of a promise, or there's less of a guarantee, there's less of a promise attached to it. And really the only qualification to purchase is whether or not you can afford the investment.
Jereshia: Now, when we go to group coaching, your responsibility level as the host or the creator of that I think increases, because now the qualification to enrollment to get in is not just can this person afford it, but it's are they actually qualified?
And there is more of a qualification process before you admit them in. So, to me it's kind of like the difference between buying a course on Udemy to learn a skill set versus enrolling in Harvard, or applying to a university. There's an application process that vets you as a candidate before they will admit or reject you from admission.
Group coaching programs have that qualification process factor in, and the qualification is, one, can you afford to buy it? But two, do you meet the qualification standards that are needed to be a good fit for being this container? Because part of your responsibility to group program is not only is there a documented curriculum, but two, what's the validation process that I'm using to properly curate the community that's here? That's why people pay top dollar to go to university. It's not just for the education, but it's for the curation of the community.
It's for the curation of the peers that you're going to be next to. So that's another, I don't know if it's a myth, but I think it's a misconception that people are not aware of, of how important the curation of your community is, the client success, and the client experience.
And then I think thirdly is your responsibility of you are not just a teacher. When you're selling a digital course you're primarily a teacher. This is what you need to know, this is how you need to apply it, let me teach and depart the information onto you in a very asynchronous manner. It's in a very one way, I teach you learn, it's very asynchronous. But when we think about a group coaching experience, you're not only a teacher, you're also now become a coach. So, it's not just teaching your client what they need to know, but you're also teaching them how to think.
You're teaching them the decision making, you're really supporting them with what's the identity, who do they need to become in order to do the work as well, not just what's the information they need to know?
Your job as a coach is facilitating both dynamics of that, both the intellectual, what this person need to know, but also the human experience of how am I coaching this person into who they need to become to also do the work?
I don't hear that those publicly talked about a lot, but I think those are the dynamics of what we teach our own clients of when you're building a great group coaching program, it's so much more than just teaching people what they need to know, but it's properly curating your community, properly qualifying those candidates beyond just whether or not they can afford the price.
And doing a really effective job of learning the skill set of actually coaching a client. And it's less asynchronous where it's just one, it's happening kind of happenstance, but more collectively, how are we really coaching and supporting and teaching this client what they need to know, but also supporting who they need to become to be able to continue to do the work that we're telling and teaching them to do, and sustain the results thereafter.
I feel like there's just more attributes to it, and a greater responsibility. But I think that's also why group programs typically are priced on a more premium end, because it's a much more holistic approach to the learning experience, to the adult learning experience, than just this is the information that you need to know, let me teach it to you.
Bob: That's fantastic. You just dropped a 10 minute masterclass, and there's so many rich things in there that I'd love to pull apart that we won't have time for, for this episode. Maybe we'll have you come back to another episode. But there's two quick things I want to pull out and then go to my next question.
So, one is the curation of the community is really powerful. I really appreciate you articulating that, because for a lot of people, they just don't realize how intentional that role is as the coach, as the host to pull people together. Because after that third meeting, they're not going to show up. If the vibe of the group is destructive, and chaotic, and poisonous, you're going to lose all that energy and momentum that you had going into it.
And then the second thing is the idea of pricing.
How to Price Your Group Coaching Programs
Bob: So, I want to explore this a little bit more, but you talk about pricing at a premium level. And I think a lot of coaches, when they first start thinking about group, they're doing it because they want the economies of scale to make more money in shorter time, but they usually price it at a point that's more affordable than the one-on-one coaching because of this misconception they may have about their time that they're putting into the individual clients. So, can you talk a little bit about the pricing dynamics that go into group coaching, and why maybe you can charge even more than one-on-one time than what you would otherwise think?
Jereshia: Yeah. Pricing to me is really, your price should be in alignment with the sophistication of the problem being solved. So, if something is a $300 course, now it's a one to many model.
But if you're teaching something that the information is more readily available, it's more entry level, it's more elementary in regards to the sophistication of the problem, that's why the price is lower. It's not just because you're trying to overcome the objection of why should I pay?
The reason why people have a pricing objection in general is because there is a disconnect with what is the promise, and the guarantee, and the certainty of what you're selling, and how directly correlated is that with the specificity of the problem that I'm trying to solve? So, if you were going to the doctor's office and if you're like, "Oh, I'm just not feeling well," you're going to go probably meet with a general physician and they get paid less.
But if you had brain cancer or something, and you need to speak to a brain surgeon, you're willing to pay top dollar for that area of expertise because you have a specific problem that is urgent for you to solve, and you want a specialized individual to help address that issue.
So, I think that when you want to charge premium or charge more, having a really clear program promise that clearly articulates a tangibility of what is the outcome that this client will be able to achieve? And if that outcome is more sophisticated, it's more of a graduate level issue, it's not elementary issue, it's not just I help you grow your business, that's like a basic problem. That offer, that promise is going to have a lower value attached to it from a buyer psychology perspective.
But I mean, we help people grow their business but we help them do it in a specific way. Our program promise is really how are we helping coaches launch curriculum-based group offers that are priced $3,000 to $10,000 using organic lead generation through live video?
The specificity of that is what allows me to command a higher price point because it's addressing a more sophisticated problem in a more nuanced way, for a more niche specific person in mind. So, even though I'm still helping people grow their business, the promise is different. The specificity of that promise is different. The level of guarantee and certainty that a prospect feels and knows based off of the curriculum that we provide, and the process that we're delivering, and our messaging is what allows us to charge more.
So, I think that it's not about, oh, if I'm one-on-one versus group, I have to charge this or that, or if it's a digital course versus group, I have to price it this way.
I really want you to think about your pricing based off of what is the value that I can articulate? And that's the hardest part, I think, what is the value that I can deliver, which most people are really good at, and what is the demand that currently exists? And there has to be harmony amongst all three of those things.
You might have incredible skill from a delivery perspective, but if you struggle with articulating your value in a way that aligns with how your buyers are making buying decisions, you're going to have more friction with pricing. Because when we are selling something intangible, the vocabulary, your languaging, your messaging becomes so much more important because you're not just selling, like here's this iPhone, it's 1,000 bucks.
I can see it, I can touch it, I know what I'm getting. But when you're selling coaching or education, it's all intellectual, it's intangible. So, your value articulation has to be really effective to create that feeling of tangibility, to provide that safety of tangibility that a buyer wants to have. And having a program promise, that statement, really does help create that tangibility to reduce the perceived risk when people are making that buying decision.
Most of our clients that are coming from private one-on-one, maybe they're booked out or transitioning from their agency world into group, we do not tell them to just lower their price because they're going to group.
We tell them to elevate their messaging, elevate their ability to articulate their value, and that's a lot of what we teach, so that they can still align their messaging with the psychology of how somebody's making a buying decision and properly correlate their price with the sophistication of the problem being solved. So, I think that's the biggest thing. And I know this is probably going to be counterintuitive to what a lot of other coaches say in this space. I'm not a big believer of charge what you're worth, add an extra zero.
In a capitalistic society, you do not get paid based off of what you are worth. You get paid based off of the value that you can articulate, the value that you can deliver, and the demand that exists. I think it's also very freeing in that because your price is not a reflection of your personal worth.
Your personal worth is infinite. It is your birthright.
But what you get paid is absolutely correlated to that value component. So, I think that if you want to charge premium, especially in a group format, you have to elevate the sophistication of your messaging. And instead of making a lot of this how-to content, or more trending audio content where you're not speaking but you're doing voiceover stuff, this is where we really need to elevate the messaging of your content to share your perspective, to show your face, to allow people to hear your voice, because that's really what is influencing why they want to hire you versus somebody else.
Your pricing is not necessarily dependent on the container in which you deliver it in, but I think it should be heavily, heavily, heavily correlated to the sophistication of the problem that is being solved for the niche audience that you're targeting to buy.
When Should Clients Be Able to Enroll in a Group Program?
Bob: Yeah, that's really good. We could dive deeper into that on so many different levels as well. But I want to ask about the enrollment frequency challenge that I think a lot of newer coaches and group coaches have. They tend to be pretty reactive. I know this firsthand, as my wife is an executive coach so I come this information honestly, and I was previously a business coach as well.
When you think about that enrollment window, some people are enrolling clients as they come in. They have a landing page, they have a Calendly appointment, they have a phone call, maybe several a day or at least several per week. And as they come in, they try to enroll them and have those conversations.
You sometimes do those, but you have an evergreen model, or you have a cohort wait list model. So, talk to us a little bit about how we should think about the enrollment frequency, and how we go about building a business that A, is a little bit more predictable, and B, also maybe elevates that desire for people to want to work within that particular group.
Jereshia: Yeah, this is one of, I don't want to say it's a mistake that I made, but it's definitely a huge lesson that I learned. Because I've done both. I've done, I feel like every enrollment model exists. There's like cohort based enrollment I've done, I've done evergreen enrollment, I've done evergreen cluster enrollment. We've done every variation over the last six years.
But I think one of the mistakes that I've made, and I would love for you guys to learn from, is your enrollment cadence really needs to be dependent on your personal capacity. Because I think the misconception that I had was that if I want monthly recurring revenue, I need to be always selling and always enrolling students. And that is one way to achieve monthly recurring revenue if you can make it work while you're doing it. I think a lot of times people think about, okay, what's this external result without thinking about what operationally has to exist to sustain that momentum to keep it going.
And when I was doing evergreen enrollment for the last year and a half, when you're always selling that means every department of your business is constantly on. You always have to be in a lead generation cycle. You always have the capacity for sales conversations. You always have to be marketing and putting out content for a lead gen. You always have to be capacity for client onboarding and client delivery. And then you also always have to be figuring out operational CEO stuff, the backend stuff.
Every department is always on. If you do not have dedicated team members for each of those departments, or have the necessary capacity to make them all run well, usually they all suffer. I've never had more than two full-time employees on my team at a given time, even to today. So, when you don't have the team capacity that is well-trained in the offer, or that you don't have an offer that has enough leg where there's enough brand recognition, and offer recognition, and your personal brand has enough prestige, you're probably not going to always have enough leads to make that make sense for long term.
And I'm noticing this in the industry, we're even changing back ourselves to simplify things. I think cohort based enrollment for group programs is the best enrollment cadence no matter what. Now that I've done all, and been in this for seven years, I think cohort-based enrollment is the absolute best because especially if you have a smaller team it allows you to have dedicated seasons where you can focus on different departments of the business more intentionally.
So, now that we're going back to cohort-based enrollment, we can spend an entire month with a whole focus of how are we generating new leads into our ecosystem? How are we getting front of new followers that don't currently follow us? We can spend an entire month just nurturing those in conjunction, just focus on how are we getting the leads that already know about us?
How are we getting them more primed, more prepped? How are we starting the pre-qualification process eight weeks before we even ask them to let them know that enrollment opens? And then we can spend a dedicated two weeks or four weeks just actively selling. So, especially if you have a smaller team, I think it really activates the support of your team in a much more intentional way because you're not asking your people on your team to have to contact switch every single day to this day, oh crap, we have to do lead gen, and then tomorrow we have seven sales conversations we need to do. And then we have three people that just joined, we got to onboard them. But you're constantly context switching, versus I think that when you go into cohort enrollment from an operational perspective, I think it provides a lot more ease because of every function has to run in enroll.
So, we're going back to cohort based enrollment because I think it's, one, going to simplify things operationally for my team, especially because we're a small team and a lean team, it allows me to train people more intentionally so they can get that development during different phases.
But I think what's most important is the client experience. And I think, if I'm being honest, I think the coaching industry got pretty lazy during COVID. My business blew up during COVID, we tripled in revenue. And I think that was very common for a lot of educators in the space, course creators, that people had the biggest years ever in 2020 or 2021. But 2022, I think was the wake-up call for a lot of our industry, because I think that we were in a season where it was so easy to sell. People who were offline and had to get online were flocking to us.
There was a lot of discretionary income in the marketplace because of PPP loans, and deferred delays on student loan payments and mortgages. There was a lot of extra income available to consumers, so people were spending. But when that spending, I think wrapped up and when the world kind of opened back up and people went back to their normal world, perceived risk on making buying decisions, I think shifted heavily. And I think a lot of coaches in the space were doing the bare minimum and it was working. They weren't having to get on sales calls, they were able to just close people in the $15,000 programs off of sales pages. And evergreen enrollment was the noise, like go evergreen, because there was more demand in the space. There was more buyers with more discretionary income also consuming.
So, I feel like moving back with the economy in mind and where we're going into, when you think about the client experience, most clients prefer to have a cohort-based learning experience because one, it models the traditional education that they came from, like normal school, normal university, normal college.
But two, if you're solving a more sophisticated problem you're asking people usually to do work that is scary for them, or it's a big leap for them, or is unfamiliar for them. They're normally asking them to up-level in some way. And it's easier to up-level when there's a collective group of you all doing it versus when, yeah, everybody's going through the same experience but you guys all started on different dates, it can feel very isolating. So, I think the consumer right now is also craving a more collective, communal, non-isolated ... And they want more community and more connection more than anything else is what we're noticing from consumers. So, I think that cohort-based enrollment really aids into improving your client experience in addition to simplifying things operationally for you as well.
Bob: And I have to imagine that as a coach too, if you're relying on a framework and that framework is being delivered in a cohort where everybody's starting at the same time, they're going through it for the same six weeks, or three months, or six months, whatever that program length is, mentally you're on that same page with everybody at the same time, not on the same page with 20 different people randomly throughout the course of the month.
Jereshia: I think that we underestimate how much that context switching, from where clients are at, running every department, especially when you have a small team or you're a small business owner, how energetically draining that is. And I think that, what you just described, if you have people at every different stage and you're having to context switch from client to client in addition to every departmental function of your business, from a evergreen enrollment perspective I think that really can aid and lead to burnout, because it's a lot to energetically hold in addition to are my cashflows okay? Are we making enough profit? Can I make payroll? Taxes are coming around the corner. It's a lot to manage. So, it's like how can we simplify things so that we can do less, or have more focused time so that we can do the output better?
Continue the Conversation with Jereshia
Bob: That's fantastic. So, I want to wrap up. Our conversation's been super rich. I really have enjoyed it. I imagine there's a first step that you would love people to take so they can get to know a little bit more about how they can bring group coaching into their world.
Jereshia: Yeah. Well, my biggest thing is I always love for us to continue the conversation. I think these interviews are so juicy, and this one was really juicy. This one was really good. I haven't shared a lot of this publicly in interview format, so I think this is a really great one. But this is always the start of the conversation.
So, I would love for you guys to tag myself, I'm @JereshiaHawk on Instagram, tag @BobTheTeacher, or tag @Leadpages on your Instagram stories and just let us know what your biggest takeaway was because I would love to hear that conversation. If you're interested in learning more about leverage or transitioning into group enrollment, you can always join the wait list for that. You can also visit my Instagram and just click the link in my bio to join the wait list.
Or if you want to hear more about these concepts, one, go read the writeup that Leadpages did on me, or go listen to my podcast, which is called Jereshia Said, and that's on iTunes, Spotify. And we also now all of our podcast episodes are on YouTube as well. So, that's where you can learn more. But I would love to just continue the conversation, tag me on Instagram and your stories. I respond to every one of my DMs, so I would love to just continue the convo.
Bob: That's fantastic. And when you're on jereshiahawk.com, make sure you check out that fantastic lead magnet she has for picking out your niche, because that's a really good one. It's a great example of a landing page built with Leadpages, by the way, over 50% conversion. So, kudos to you for that.
Jereshia: Yeah, yeah, 50%. We do so good with that. That's why I love Leadpages.
Bob: And yeah, and be sure to hit me up @BobTheTeacher, @Leadpages. Like Jereshia said, this has really been a lot of fun and I can't wait to see what you do next. And I can't wait to see that next enrollment window for Leverage open up for the people that are listening that want to take you up on some more knowledge and wisdom. Thank you so much for being here.
Jereshia: Yeah, thanks for having me.