passive income

Create a Feel-Good Facebook Ads Funnel for Your Course, Workshop, or eBook

funnels for courses ebooks and programs.jpeg

Long before I could even begin to define a Facebook ads funnel, from the moment my first $3 sale showed up in my eCommerce dashboard for an eBook I'd written out of pure necessity (to help potential clients plan their brand fully before I started working on their website), I was amazed at the magic/science of someone who doesn't know you one day, purchasing from you and passionately sharing your stuff all over the web the next day.

I made up my mind to get a Ph.D. where I could research the factors that go into the purchasing decisions of consumers buying from infopreneurs, influencers, and "authorities" online. Still working on that whole Ph.D. thing, but until that time, I have some 80% nerdy, 20% hip, but 100% mind-blowing examples and trainings for you if you want to start selling your programs, services, or digital products online . . . on autopilot . . . while remaining very human and in touch with the people you are serving.

We're gonna get into actual funnel examples, and so much more . . . you're ready, right? And more on these mysterious sheets in a second.

Funnel-Examples-from-PFSS.png

First, it's time to briefly review what a funnel is and why I go through an intense period every 2 years or so where I desperately try to think of a different name for "funnels" because of the way people abuse, misuse, overuse, etc. the term.

What is a funnel, really?

A funnel is simply one or more of your ideal audience members being drawn in by an amazing resource or gift you offer, then being taken through a series of content pieces or interactions that you’ve created, in which each step is meant to:

(1) educate and motivate your audience to act on something helpful to them, and
(2) accomplish a specific brand goal for you.

The-Parts-of-an-Effective-Funnel.gif

My belief is that even though your funnel may have one general goal, the most feel-good, customer-centric, and sensitive funnels are ones that are highly valuable even if someone doesn't purchase anything and/or ones that have a few stop-off points for people just in case your end goal is not what they need.

Which is why I'm always trying to rename the dreaded f-word — "funnel" . . . people in the online marketing space seem to love to abuse the word . . . by offering little value, lots of pressure, and only high price point resources. Funnels don't have to be ridiculous. They can be some of the most amazing experiences for your audience . . . something that you get thank you emails and fire 🔥emoji tweets about.

Back to the point of this article . . .

Let's get to an example funnel, eh?

We can take the example of my totally real friend (I didn't make him up or anything) named Theo to illustrate extremely helpful funnels. In this content series, Theo is not only selling his $35 guide to being a digital nomad in Playa del Carmen, but he is also dishing out essential, valuable information for people who might only need a few additional details or for people who can't yet afford his book.

Example-Funnel-from-Theo.png

That funnel looks super sexy and helpful, right?

But you may have noticed a very key thing is missing. "Traffic" as the marketers say. Humans as I like to call them. How are human-actual-people going to become aware of Theo's amazing free video on "A day in the life of a digital nomad in Playa del Carmen" to begin with? In order for a funnel to work, you need a flow of new people being introduced to your brand or offer.

Getting people to the start of your funnel . . .

There are countless ways someone can become aware of Theo's video (or his free checklist, or his workshop, or his email training series, or whatever he chooses to share):

  • Theo might share a link to his video in a Facebook Group for digital nomads that he's a part of

  • Theo might share his link on Instagram

  • Someone might tweet out about Theo's video/resource

  • People could find his video from a pin on Pinterest or a Facebook Live video

  • . . . and so on

BUT. How can Theo create a consistent stream of the right kind of people landing on his resources? People who are interested in travel, digital nomading, living abroad, doing freelance work on the Internet, etc.?

One seriously epic way is to invest a little time learning how to target, and scale with, Facebook ads.

And I have some seriously cool examples for you in this article. But first, know this: I used to be so epically scared of Facebook ads. I was 100% sure (in my state of ignorance) that they were going to waste my time and money.

Then I started paying attention to various friends of mine online. Like Aby Moore, second from the right in the image below---she drove hundreds of dollars in sales on a workbook from $130 in Facebook ad spend. Or like the amazing Kimra Luna, on the left below---her love affair with Facebook ads started when she spent $400 and got 1000 people signed up for her first business webinar. 

Social-Ads-School-Session-Examples.jpg

I watched how my friend (and former client) Courtney Sanders absolutely blew up online---the good way. She didn't start testing out thousands of dollars. She started testing out a $100 ad spend and getting back $196 in sales of a 7-day challenge---as she explains in the slide towards the left above.

And of course, I've been watching two people I admire a ton, Verick Wayne (my friend since undergrad)---as he got more and more passionate about Instagram and Facebook and paved the way for me to use them more effectively, and Andrew Hubbard---a genius Facebook ads strategist who works with course sellers, event hosts, and more.

And after all these examples and lessons, I decided to give Facebook ads a serious try. The results have been kinda magical, and today I want to be a ShareBear and share as much as possible with you. Cuz you know, sharing is caring.

Facebook ads funnels aren't scary, and they can be totally human and warm.

We're going to get into four super clutch examples based on four pretty common product/business models that you might be pursuing or considering. 

You may be selling:

  1. Courses and eBooks

  2. 1-on-1 services like consulting and freelancing

  3. Masterminds or group coaching programs

  4. Tickets to live and virtual events

We're going to take some examples from a book I created on funnels, example avatars---one for each of the product models above---and trace out a full, epic, profitable funnel that starts with a targeted Facebook ad. Today we're starting with Facebook ads funnels specifically for course creators or book sellers.

How to Create a Facebook Ads Funnel to Sell Your Course or eBook on Autopilot

Let's revisit this Theo character from one of my books. Remember . . . he is selling a digital guide (eBook and an accompanying video or two) on living and working internationally in Playa del Carmen, Mexico.

 Theo is getting a Facebook ads funnel

Theo is getting a Facebook ads funnel

Step 1: Create a Compelling Offer to Start off Your Facebook Ads Funnel

 The start of a Facebook ads funnel

The start of a Facebook ads funnel

Theo might start with a simple Facebook ad that he targets at anyone who has similar habits (on Facebook) to his website visitors---he can do this by installing a piece of code on his site (a Facebook pixel) and then creating a "lookalike" audience in his Facebook ads account.

In addition to the fact that the people he targets "look like" people who already visit his website, he might also make a condition of his ad that it's only shown to people who also like a popular digital nomad Facebook page, are between the ages of 23 - 38, and use Gmail as their primary email provider.

His Facebook ad can be a simple 90-second video (maybe where he's simply holding his phone on a selfie stick and walking around key spots in his city during the day---with good light---sharing 2 or 3 key tips about being a digital nomad).

His video ad can direct people to a landing page on his website where they can sign up (with their name and email address) for two more videos in his series---one that explains the ways you can make money as a digital nomad and one that explains the basics of living internationally.

Pro tip: Theo can use the "thank you" page after people sign up for his free videos to lightly (or fully and directly) mention the $35 guide he sells. This can help sales trickle in immediately and pay for his Facebook ads. But, since he's still giving free value, it won't turn off most (reasonable) people to get a special offer of an affordable digital guide.

Personal story side note: I've used this "redirect to special offer" method before to drive over $10,000 in sales of an online course immediately after people signed up for a free workshop series.

Tripwires-and-Special-Offers.jpg

Step 2: Follow Up with a Reminder and Some Helpful Info/Resources

Since Theo recently collected people's email addresses, he can send a follow-up email, 3 days after they initially signed up for his list, re-linking to the videos (in case his subscribers missed them), and giving some new, relevant information to his audience.

 Funnel Email Example for Selling an eBook or Course on Autopilot

Funnel Email Example for Selling an eBook or Course on Autopilot

^^ In this email, Theo is combatting a common objection/fear he hears about moving abroad through a well-researched government report on the low crime rates in the city he lives in. He's also giving people a chance to check out a free podcast series he created with some amazing fellow digital nomads, or to join his free Facebook group and/or buy his $35 guide.

Personal story side note: Theo's funnel is very similar to how I've sold a graphic design course in the past. Facebook ad >> to workshop >> to helpful email chain with more videos/info >> to purchase. The course was priced at $175, and even though only a small percentage of people purchased it, it was enough to pay for the ads and make a nice profit. Having a smart email list-building strategy is sooooo important that we created a full 5-day email course on building an engaged email list of people who actually buy from you . . . And it's free. 

Step 3: Re-Target People on Facebook AND Send Another Educational/Motivational Email

Here's where some next level cool stuff comes in. You may or may not know that most entrepreneurs and businesses online are getting open rates on their emails between 17% and 25%. No, I'm serious. Check out this report (updated in 2017) by MailChimp.

That means that for every 100 people you send your emails to, 80 of them don't open it. That's serious.

But, it's not the end of the world. There are almost 2 billion people on Facebook, so it's a good bet that a lot (if not all) of your ideal audience members are on Facebook.

So, instead of relying solely on email to deliver your funnel (let's say it goes out to 1000 people one month . . . you want more than 170 or 200 people getting it, right?) . . . why not add a Facebook ad into your funnel?

You're increasing the chances that the right person will see your content at the right time. So, let's look at what Theo does and see if it can give you some ideas.

We know that Theo already had people landing on a "thank you" page on his site after they signed up for his video series that they learned about through his Facebook ad (and/or some other means---he can always share his series using free methods as well).

Let's call that thank you page TheoTravels.com/video. Someone would have only landed there if they'd signed up for his series.

Theo can go inside his Facebook ads account and now create an audience (basically, a group of people to show ads to) that will only include people who've seen that specific page on his site . . . so the audience consists only of people who signed up for his offer.

And here's where he goes NEXT LEVEL.

 Here's how to set up a hack to create a Facebook Ads Funnel

Here's how to set up a hack to create a Facebook Ads Funnel

Theo can create that audience out of people who've been on that page at least 3 days ago, but no longer than 10 days ago. Or whatever numbers he chooses. Why would he do this?

If he knows he's about to spend money to show an ad to people in his funnel, why not make sure they signed up for his resource at least 3 days ago (meaning they've had time to watch the videos and "warm up" to Theo) but not longer than 10 days ago (so he can keep the audience relevant and fresh---someone may not remember him from 33 days ago or may not be as concerned about the topic anymore).

He (and you and I) can essentially then spend money on just the people who have already shown a high level of interest in what we're talking about. And because of the way Facebook "Audiences" work, people will automatically be added and removed from the group of people we're showing ads to based on the conditions we set up.

So on Day 11 after signing up for Theo's resource and landing on his "video" page, that person will no longer be shown the ad for the second piece of the funnel (let's say piece #2 is a case study). If they haven't taken advantage of it by then, why spend money trying to make them? Also, Theo can add a condition that this audience he's showing an ad to on days 3 - 10 doesn't include anyone who has already visited the case study's landing page.

#Brilliant.

So to summarize, 2 - 5 days after someone initially signs up for a resource from you, you can start targeting them with an ad that takes them to the next content piece in your funnel. Simultaneously, you can schedule another email that also takes them to the next piece in your funnel. Adding in the *hopefully* high-converting ad to your email plan will increase the number of people who actually see your next funnel piece.

 The second ad in your Facebook ads funnel

The second ad in your Facebook ads funnel

 Funnel Email Example for Selling an eBook or Course

Funnel Email Example for Selling an eBook or Course

Step 4: Continue to Use a Combination of the Custom Audience "Hack" in Step 3, and Funnel Emails Spaced a Few Days Apart, to Deliver a Few More Resources

Remember, Theo still has a blog post on how to get great Internet speeds in Playa, his own case study of how he lives and works for under $1500/month, and a lesson on getting the proper visas and permits to stay legally in Mexico.

 Example Funnel from Theo

Example Funnel from Theo

He can choose to create an ad for some, none, or all of his remaining funnel content pieces (videos, articles, podcast episodes, and more)---pieces that always link or invite people to purchase his guide or a different resource/course he sells. And, he can definitely, for free, create an email to go out every few days for the rest of his funnel content.

If he's using email software like ConvertKit (the one I use), then as soon as someone buys his guide, he can make sure they stop receiving funnel emails to promote the guide---all of this is done "automagically" with no extra work from Theo after he initially sets up the action/reaction in ConvertKit.

And that my human friend, is how someone can use Facebook ads to sell a course or eBook on "autopilot." Cool, right? Want more examples like this? And pssssst, if you liked this dive on funnels (I know this lesson was pretty detailed), you might just love our email course on building an engaged email list of people who actually buy from you. . .  Just saying. I know this lesson was pretty detailed, but I break down the process of smart email list-building in bite sized pieces here.

I'll see you super soon for Part 2 of this series. Excited? Leave a comment below with a funnel idea you have for your own content (no matter how rough an idea). I want to hear about it.

Regina out.

23 Types of Audio, Video, and Other Media You Can Add to Your Course (or Blog) to Make It Even More Epic

23 Types of Audio, Video, and Other Media You Can Add to Your Course (or Blog) to Make It Even More Epic

Not that text lessons and articles aren't super valuable, but in the interest of making your online courses (or blog in general) more accessible, delightful, and useful for different learning styles, it is a good idea to explore the many types of media you can create---easily---and most often without any investment at all other than your time. Check out the 23 types of media below that you can add to your online course, website, blog, landing pages, and more to create a more valuable and user-friendly experience for your students and audience.

The 6 Most Profitable Blogger Career Paths (and How to Get Started in One)

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Oh man. Listen. I 100% believe what I’m about to say and it IS big. I’m not even necessarily being the overly dramatic version of myself that I normally am. Here it is.

There are six distinct blogger career paths, which if you understand and work on, can absolutely change your world.

I’ve been down each one of these paths in the past, and it is time to share them . . . and to change the careers that we consider, pursue, and build for ourselves.

P.S. Everything below and more is available as an audio file. And here is the flowchart I reference and show.

 How do you make money as a blogger? What careers are there in blogging? Here's a resource to help.

How do you make money as a blogger? What careers are there in blogging? Here's a resource to help.

For years, and years, and years, society has been quick to teach us the traditional career paths of lawyers, and teachers, and plumbers, and even professional basketball players. We know which schools we need to go to, which judge to get an internship with, how to get certified during night school, which recruiters and game stats we should shoot for, etc.

We know that once we become a lawyer, we can look forward to either practicing law at a major firm and trying to make partner, or starting our own firm, or teaching law, or working as a public defender, or working for a major corporation as an attorney, or doing pro bono, or advising a non-profit, or getting into politics and perhaps running for president of our country one day.

Great.

But, what about career paths for bloggers? For content creators? For infopreneurs? For some of these positions and interests that are popping up, making money, and sticking around?

Just as becoming a lawyer doesn’t guarantee you money or clients, but it does provide many paths to monetize (explained above) and many specialties to focus on (family law, corporate issues, intellectual property, taxes, tort law, etc.) and is thus considered a legitimate career . . .

Becoming a blogger doesn’t guarantee income or fame by any stretch of the imaginations, but it does provide many paths (explained below and in the audio file) and practically endless specialties to focus on (food, business, travel, crafts, fitness, accounting, fashion, etc.) that make money and should thus be considered a legitimate career.

I hope they start teaching it in schools everywhere soon. But until then, may I please present my shiny new Blogger Career Paths flowchart with some explanations and notes (if you’re taking them) that I hope will blow your mind? Okay. Let’s get started.

 The 6 Blogging Career Paths

The 6 Blogging Career Paths

The first thing to understand is what is happening in any career path, anywhere, at any time, on any day. You are learning something new in one of two ways. You are either:

  1. Acquiring a skill. or

  2. Acquiring information.

Right? And, depending on which one you are doing, there are quite a few ways that your career path can develop and morph. Plus, keep in mind that you can continually add new skills or information to the mix to tweak your path as new interests and desires come up.

So, let’s break down what the 6 most profitable career paths for bloggers are, and then, you can optionally decide to listen to the audio file above where I break down these Blogger Career Paths into the two actions of acquiring a skill or acquiring information as a starting point.

The 6 Most Profitable Career Paths for Bloggers

Becoming a DFY (done for you) freelancer.

“I like to do X, so I’m going to do it for you, in a customized way.”

Ex: A copywriter for your sales and landing pages. A document designer for your book. An interior designer for your daughter's room.

2. Becoming a coach or consultant in a Dwy (done with you) way.

“I like to show you how to do X successfully.”

Ex: A divorce + transition coach. A yoga coach. A brand or content coach. Like my girl over at JenCarrington.com.

3. Becoming a speaker.

“I want to talk about X to help make it better and advance the way we think about X.”

Ex: A speaker who raises awareness of the dangers of childhood obesity. A speaker who talks with corporations about how to motivate their team members.

4. Becoming a spokesperson.

“I like to do X and talk about X, so I partner with brands that allow me to do so.”

Ex: A food blogger who is an affiliate for products and gets food brands to pay them for special recipes. A fashion blogger who gets money, clothes, and accessories because they make brands look good. A travel blogger who becomes a brand ambassador for a boutique hotel chain (yes, I actually know someone who did this and their niche is not even travel). Me, when WD sponsored me to talk about their personal cloud device.

5. Making products so people can diy their solutions.

“I want to create a way for people to do X better.”

Ex: A blogger who creates an editorial planner (haha, shameless---that's my editorial planner for sale on Amazon.com. No but seriously, the Epic Blog Planner is actually pretty great). Or a fitness blogger who creates an app to help you track your fitness goals. Or a yoga-loving blogger who creates more versatile or sustainable yoga gear or bags. Or the blogger behind the food blog Inspiralized.com who made a popular kitchen tool and cookbook.

6. Becoming a publisher for profit.

“I want to teach a lot of people how to do X in a clear way.”

Ex: A course creator who teaches yoga for rehabilitating a weak back. Or my friend Heather who teaches how to style a bookcase. A blogger-author who sells books on financial planning and independence. A blogger who has published multiple books and now teaches SERVE Academy, an email-list building and sales cycle program. You get the point---there are a lot of ways to publish for profit.

Oooo, when you learn by acquiring a new skill, what are the blogging career paths available to you? And what about when you learn by acquiring info?

I'm so glad you asked this question, ninja friend. I get to that in the podcast episode--I just have a few more tips for you here in this post.

But, let’s take a #secretbreak real quick. Which is, get this, a break in which I tell you a secret.

I'm desperately passionate about helping you find the blogging career that makes sense for you, your learning passions, and the people you like to talk to and help or entertain. I'm passionate about it because I have tested and seen many monetization methods in each career path (as in: there's more than just one way to make money as a "spokesperson"), and at some point in the last few years, I've done each of these careers for full-time income. 

No seriously, it was just about learning and growing.

And testing. And you know what?

It IS possible to pursue blogging as a career . . . it just needs to be approached wisely.

So, you will notice, especially as you listen to the episode and take a gander at the flowchart, one common theme that helps you monetize scalably is to figure out a process with what you do, and then figure out how to make it better (through products, or tools, or coaching/guidance), how to explain it better (through organized information), or how to present it better. These ALL deal with publishing information.

  • Visual information.

  • Written information.

  • Information as tutorials or videos.

  • Audio files.

  • There are a lot of options.

And I want to help you navigate them. I’m not gonna just leave you like “Yay. Blogging careers are real. Go find one.”

Here’s the deal. Carving a career for yourself out of this new industry requires (1) something you are passionately interested in---and p.s. you can test things out and binge-do the Internet to start finding out what that is if you don’t already know, and (2) being consistent about creating value out of what you’re passionately interested in. How to create content that wins will be a focus of the next few episodes of the #StayScrappy podcast and of the posts on this blog . . . but . . .

At the very least . . . you can start by taking our free 5-day email course on building an engaged email list of people who actually buy from you. 

Then, if you’re feeling good about your setup and wanting to move forward, please feel free to check out ALL the free content here on the blog to see if that gives you what you need, or, if you're ready to super duper pursue this, you can come join us in SERVE Academy.

Regina out.

The 7 Types of Online Workshops You Can Host

Oh, hey there. Regina here. Talking about one of the most exciting (to me) forms of content ever. Ever, ever. Like, my friends, and other epic people that I belong to online communities with, all know that this is the type of content that currently makes my world go 'round. I mean, basically.

Online workshops.

7 types of online workshops.jpeg
 Tors Grantham quote - Thanks, Tors. You rock.

Tors Grantham quote - Thanks, Tors. You rock.

The lovely Tors even said this:

And here's the deal. There are a few super valid reasons to start with workshops if you want to get into info products, or build your email list, or create content that you can re-package as an opt-in or bonus, or show yourself as a coach or expert on a topic you're passionate about. Tons of epic reasons.

Like, 8, to be specific.

Hosting workshops . . .

1. Helps people start to see you as a teacher and an expert in your niche. A compelling workshop topic, attractive graphics to support your event, a simple signup process, and a helpful agenda + worksheet to go along with it and you will seem professional, experienced, and amazing.

This impression goes a long way whether you’re providing services, trying to line up speaking opportunities, or creating information products, membership programs, or coaching/mastermind groups.

2. Encourages you to create actionable worksheets, tips, and content so that you can see if you even have enough material, information, etc. to create a full course/program out of your topic, or if it might be better as a book, or if it should be a one-on-one service, or be left alone as a workshop, or abandoned completely, or done as a collaboration, or made into a group program, etc.

3. Gives you tons of bundling and packaging options. You can use your workshop as a free opt-in event conducted live, a free opt-in conducted live and then packaged as an evergreen opt-in or product bonus, a free opt-in conducted live and then sold afterward, or a paid product . . . among other options.

4. Allows you to test out EVERYTHING. It would be horrible to waste time (or money) developing something as intense as a course or book that turns out to not actually work for you or your audience. Developing worksheets, slides, and a script or bullet points of info for your workshop will help you figure out if the content works for you, of course, but actually presenting the information to your audience will allow you to get a real understanding of how it works for them. Was it too long? Too short? Too hard? Too confusing? Just right? Etc.

5. Helps you create a larger product or series as you go. Instead of planning one major resource (think course, online school, etc.) and leaving it looming over you, you’re able to plan it and create small sections/modules of it as workshops. #Brilliant

6. Gives you an additional price point to serve your audience with, as well as a different level of intensity/urgency of information---many times, a workshop will be more actionable and comprehensive than a blog post, eBook, or other type of resource.

Serving your audience at varying levels of need (amount of information, price, learning style, etc.) is a way to show you care and to impress your ideal people.

7. Allows you to have a more personal, more in-depth Q+A session with your audience (than sending a survey via email or some such method). It’s more valuable for them and more valuable for you. They get their questions answered live and you get way more feedback or input that you can apply to a paid product or service. If you listen to the questions and chat happening during a workshop, you may literally get ideas for the exact words to use and the exact way to frame your paid products to build a better item and get better sales results.

8. Gets you used to creating videos. Whether you decide to screencast, share presentation slides, or turn the camera on yourself to present, you will get used to creating videos, editing, getting good sound, being more and more comfortable on screen/audio, hosting videos, and more. Speaking of videos and more, check out our article on 23 Types of Audio, Video, and Other Media You Can Add to Your Course (or Blog) to Make It Even More Epic

If you decide to create full courses, or make videos a significant part of your content strategy, then completing workshop after workshop will only make you more awesome at creating videos and courses in general.

 

The 7 Types of Online Workshops

Now. Let's borrow some material from our epic 5-day email course on building an engaged email list of people who actually buy from you. Let's talk about the seven types of workshops you can use to help drive awareness and sales of your product, build an audience, or slow-build a larger course or product.

 The 7 Types of Online Workshops You Can Host

The 7 Types of Online Workshops You Can Host

1. Bootcamps

A multi-day, multi-session bootcamp is a great way to both build a community around a specific topic or goal and teach something that requires more time than a single workshop might allow. Bootcamps are also a clever way to promote a product that is on the expensive side for your audience. Why? Because having multiple events, a community, and extra chances to see how helpful you are gives people additional time to make an investment decision and more reasons to feel good about that decision.

In the following example from an older course, I wasn't promoting any specific paid product with this course but I certainly could have used it in that way.

2. Online Workshops

These are so much more than your typical webinar. Think of classes that last 2+ hours and come with worksheets, videos, or some type of additional resources. As an example, I'll throw out The Infopreneur Workshop--a 2.5-hour training and 15-page workbook.

You can use online workshops to increase signups to your email list, to make a profit, or to promote a paid product/service. I generally structure most of my workshops as "information only," but if you spend hours training people for free, and several hours preparing for that training and creating epic materials, it's certainly acceptable that you'd want to pitch a product during that time.

To handle selling in online workshops, I'd recommend:

  • letting people know ahead of time that you'll be telling them about a specific product during the workshop--but that you won't take up too much time on it

  • starting off the workshop strong, without selling

  • gradually bringing in materials and giving your audience access to things that are exclusive to your product

  • explaining your product and any special deal on it toward the end of your workshop

  • opening up a Q+A at the very end where people can ask questions about the workshop material or your course

3. Q+As or Office Hours

You can host live Q+A sessions (or even IG Lives or Periscopes) covering topics that are a part of your expertise to help people, show a more personal side, or lightly hint and direct people towards one of your services or products.

You can answer questions that were previously submitted and/or answer questions asked during the broadcast. You can prepare worksheets or note sheets ahead of time or leave the event entirely open to whatever direction it may go in.

Hint: If you are using Q+As to help promote a product, they are super effective when a product is about to launch or when the price of the product is going up soon. This can cause the right kind of excitement and urgency with your audience.

Example: You have a product called Get Growing (How to Grow Your Own Produce, Even With a Small Backyard), and you have an office hours session called The Grow Your Own Produce Q+A in which you let people know that the price of Get Growing is going up in 7 days, but you also answer tons of questions on growing your own produce.

4. Live Trainings

When you want to show software, tips + tricks, or a specific method/process, a targeted live training may be your best bet. These will likely be shorter than your 2+ hour workshops, and they can be some of your most popular events.

I've done live trainings on things such as:

  • designing your email funnels

  • creating a Visual Toolkit for your brand

  • making an email style guide (hosted with Kory Woodard)

  • creating a book layout in Apple Pages

  • and more

What types of things can you show your audience how to do, or how to do better, in 30 to 90 minutes?

Here are two things to keep in mind about your live trainings:

  • Often your live trainings can be smaller portions of a larger course or series. You can do them to help you build your content over time.

  • Even if you have a small audience, or absolutely no live audience, making your trainings happen anyways means you'll have epic stuff to fill your YouTube channel with or use for opt-ins to your email list. One of my most watched videos (the tutorial shown above), has gotten 99% of its views after the original air date. You can create content that does wonders for your brand even if no one shows up to the original thing. Actually, there's less pressure that way.

5. Workshop Series

Think of a workshop series as a collection of online workshops or live trainings all focused around the same topic (getting started in home gardening, growing your email list, etc.) or as a specific category/event that happens on a schedule, but topics vary.

This is how Jamie of Spruce Road does her Lunch & Learn series. The topics vary, the co-hosts vary, but they generally all have something to do with design---which is likely what Jamie wants to be known for and is definitely what she is an expert in.

Would a recurring series help you build your list, get consistent with creating content, help you meet cool collaborators, and be a quality way you could regularly promote your paid materials?

Which style of workshop seems to fit your personality best so far? Which one do you think would be best for your audience?

6. Webinars

Short, informative live workshops (typically set up to promote specific products) are called webinars. Often webinar hosts present the audience with a limited-time offer on a course, service, book, or bundle of items.

Webinars can be educational and fun, and often include presentation slides and a Q+A portion. Webinars may or may not come with worksheets and additional resources, but for the most part they are set up to be effective sales venues for a product, so I feel they are often planned with the business owner's goals in minds more so than audience goals.

If you choose to opt for a webinar (which is not a bad thing if it's the solution that makes the most sense for you), try to think about what your audience is gaining from the experience and build in things they can appreciate.

7. Live Mobile Broadcasts (such as Instagram Live, Facebook live, or Periscope)

If you're looking for a more informal broadcast than the ones above, why not break into video using Instagram or another live video app? You can use these for:

  • Q+As

  • Short tutorials

  • Daily/weekly tips

  • Sharing new products and giving demos

  • Creating something live

  • Testing out new content/product ideas

  • Getting feedback

  • Sharing inspiration or meaningful thoughts

  • and more

You could also structure any of the workshop types above as a Periscope broadcast. Instead of screensharing and showing slides, you could "double tap" your phone and use the back camera to show your computer screen.

It would certainly be less formal than a workshop hosted on Google+ Hangouts On Air, Livestream, or another similar tool, but maybe less formal is what you want to go for.

You could use Instagram Lives to:

  • get practice presenting

  • get real-time feedback and interaction

  • help people start to see you as a teacher/coach

  • create videos you could repackage or use elsewhere

So, which type of workshop do you want to start with?

And pssssst, if you liked this mini-lesson, you might just love our email course on building your email list with people who will actually buy from you. Just saying.

How to Self-Publish Your Own Books as a Business Model

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Let me just be honest with you. This post is going to REALLY get into self-publishing your own book. Like really really. There are so many misconceptions about how difficult publishing is in general, let alone self-publishing.

But before we get started, let me just say that it irks me beyond almost anything else when I see online marketers, experts, and infopreneurs say they can teach you how to make $20K per month online in 3 months or less, or that they’ll tell you how to bring in $100K off of one course. Results will vary, skeazy marketers.

P.S. Skeazy means you're both sketchy and sleazy, bruh. It's not a good look. Don’t promise people the same results you’ve achieved (or worse . . . only seen someone else achieve).

So, in this post I want to show you a bit of how I've set up publishing printed books for a full-time income, and how I honestly think that you, with a solid non-fiction book idea, can earn truly decent income from printed books in a relatively short time.

Why self-publish? Because it’s a legit business model. Let’s explore.

Traditional publishing looks super glamorous. Book tours. National TV appearances. Lovely and large royalty advances. A publisher going crazy over you and catering to your every whim. Nothing to do but turn in a manuscript and all the layout, design, promotion, and sales will be taken care of for you. Ballin’. Money rollin' on in.

Reality? New authors get small advances, have to do a lot of their own promotion, and won’t likely get tours and crazy publicity opportunities set up for them. Also. The ballin’? Please let me break down advances, royalties, etc. for us.

The realness of profits in self-publishing vs. traditional.

As a new author, if you get a $5,000 royalty advance, you’re doing well. And that’s a beautiful thing, getting $5,000 dollars all at once for your hard work of writing a book. Yay. Money in the bank.

But. That $5,000 is a royalty advance. Meaning you won’t make another cent off of your book until you earn that $5,000 back in your royalties (which are a percentage of the book’s price or your publishing company’s profits).

Let’s take for example a soft cover book that sells for $20. If your publishing company gives you the standard 7.5% royalty (and let's say they give it to you off of the list price of your book, which some company's will only give you 7.5% of their profits off of each individual book), then you make approximately $1.50 per book. Though this royalty percentage is somewhat common knowledge in traditional publishing, you can check out by one of my favorite bloggers (former literary agent and current author, Nathan Bransford) for this statistic as well as a few other interesting tidbits.

You’ll have to sell 3,333 copies of your book to pay your publishing company back your advance. This means you’ll never see another dollar of profit (after your original advance) until your book has sold over 3,000 copies.

So, selling 3,333 copies of your book, earns you $5,000 in the traditional publishing model.

Do you know how much you would have made on those same 3,333 copies of your book through the self-publishing model? Assuming you charged the same $20 per copy and had ~170 pages in your book?

$30,000

Because you’ll be making over $9 with each sale.

So, selling 3,000 copies can either get you $5,000 or $30,000--which is enough for me to live off for a year (at least if I forgo my crazy vegan food delivery . . .but that's another topic.)

That’s why I present self-publishing as a business model. If you want the fame and reach that traditional publishing can possibly get you, that’s completely understandable. But this post is for those of you who want to use self-published printed books (pBooks instead of eBooks) as a business model and way for you to make part or all of your living.

My total from the two printed books I’ve published (though one of them makes the majority of the income) over a 6-month period is almost $16,000, so I know this can work. I want to tell you my process for setting this system up.

Ready? Let’s get started.

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Step 0: Build a Platform

Whether you get your book traditionally published or you self-publish your own book, one thing that will be required, and insanely helpful, is a platform. Whether you choose to build this through a podcast, a popular YouTube channel, a blog, or even an epic Instagram account, you'll need a platform.

It doesn't have to be crazy huge. It just has to be targeted. Back when I only had one book published, and only had 80 friends to mail each week from my MailChimp account, my book still made a decent part-time income each month. It was very tailored to my audience, and very useful at the live workshops I taught in Austin.

Whatever size platform and audience you can build (that's focused and humanized), you'll be doing yourself a favor when it comes time to sell your book . . . or anything else for that matter. Actually, I can't overstress how important it is to have an audience that is interested in you and what you have to offer. It's so important that we made a free 5-day email course on building an engaged email list of people who actually buy from you. . . Just saying.

 

Step 1: Plan Your Book

If you know me even a little bit, then you’ll likely know that my planning process involves poster boards, index cards, colored markers, and a timer. This has been an obsession for five years or more now, and I don't think it's ever going away.

  • Get out your index cards and set your timer for 20 minutes.

  • Write down all the steps it will take to teach your book's topic or write down all the categories of things you want to share for a particular topic or process (each item on a separate card--but you can also just spread them out on a poster board if you don't have index cards).

  • Analyze your cards. Can anything be combined? Is anything missing? Does anything need to be eliminated?

  • Now, for each remaining card you have, set your timer for 7 minutes and flip the card over to record any sub-steps or sub-topics you'll want to explain related to the card's main topic. Ex: if the card was "learn your camera's setup," then the sub-points might be "auto vs. manual, changing white balance, where to find f-stop," etc.

  • Now, combine, eliminate, or fill out any further sub-topics.

When you're done with this process, the front of your cards will be your chapters and the back will be the sections of your chapters. Planning a really solid book that answers your audience's pressing questions + questions they didn't even know they had, is a great way to build a book that gets talked about and gets sold.

 

Step 2: Research + Finalize Your Outline

Once you've gone through the initial planning process, it's time to do a little bit of homework before you finalize your outline. Check other books, courses, workshops, and educational materials on the same topic. Since you're doing this after you developed a general outline from scratch, your direction won't be too influenced by others' works, but you will be reminded of anything you forgot that you feel the expertise and desire to include.

Finalize your outline by putting all of the information in an order that will be logical for your audience, whether newbies, advanced users, or something in between.

 

Step 3: Write Your Book. Get it edited.

Once you have your outline, you can either do step 4 (so that you're writing your book directly into its layout), or you can begin writing. I like to set up a separate Google Doc for each chapter if I'm writing in GDocs first, but most of the time, I create directly in my book's layout software (Apple Pages) so that when I'm done writing, it can go to an editor immediately then be uploaded straight to my printer of choice.

I always recommend hiring an outside editor. You are too close to your book and too used to your book to spot all the errors--and when you self-publish, you want to minimize errors and kill the design and layout so that it won't look like a not-so-epic attempt at a professional publication.

P.S. You don't have to write your book in the order it's outlined in. Skip around to the chapters that are most exciting to you when you meet a slow period. I like to write an exciting section or two, then a not-so-exciting section, and repeat that process until the book is done.

 

Step 4: Design Your Book's Interior.

Or get it designed for you. You can design your own interior or start from a template, but you can always have a book designer lay out your book for you if it's in the budget to do so.

As you design, keep in mind:

  • Readability. Make sure the fonts and font sizes will be easy for your target audience to digest.

  • Margins. Make sure you leave enough room on all edges of your pages per your printer's specifications.

 

Step 5: Design Your Book's Cover.

Before you get started in this process, I encourage you to go search Amazon for books with your keywords or topic in the title. Look at the covers. I won't lie, most self-published books have horrible covers, which means that for almost any search term, the majority of books that pop up will simply not look good. That means there is so much room for you to come in and slay. A good book cover design will stand out, but a great design and catchy title will be practically impossible to ignore. Great design converts well. Seriously. Even a sub-par book can sell well with great design and a solid description of the contents. So imagine when your great book with great design hits the market.

When it's time to design your book cover, here are a few tips:

  • Don't create a white cover if you plan to sell primarily online--this will look odd on sites like Amazon.com that don't put a border around your cover image. People will not be able to tell where your book cover ends and the web page begins. If you want a light cover, try a cream or gray (like the cover below).

  • Create your file at the dpi (resolution) your chosen printer requires--typically 300 dpi or more.

  • Make sure you have the right to use any fonts, images, or elements you incorporate into your cover. Read each company's or seller's terms of use very carefully.

 How to Design Your Book Cover for Print

How to Design Your Book Cover for Print

Step 6: Create Your Publishing House + Get Legit.

To look and feel the most legit, I recommend setting up your company as a publishing house. You can publish under your current business, or you can set up a separate LLC you own in order to publish books. Creating your own small press is a great way to obtain the ISBN (which is the number necessary to distinguish your book from others on the market) and bar code you'll need to sell your book in most marketplaces.

 

Step 7: Design Your Book's Promotional Materials.

You will likely want most of the items below to promote your book.

  • Cover mockups.

  • Interior mockups.

  • Sales pages.

  • Facebook ads.

  • Pinterest pins.

  • Etc.

Remember to think outside of the box, and remember that visuals really help people imagine themselves reading your book and using your work to learn + grow. We dig deep on creating visuals in Visual Arsenal 3.0, which is currently only available to members of SERVE Academy.

But whether you're going the DIY route or outsourcing your graphics, some well laid out promotional materials (in your blog's sidebar, on social media, on your sales pages, in your blog posts, etc.) will seriously help convert viewers to buyers. Spend a lot of time designing quality images (ask a peer who will be honest with you) or invest money in a designer who can create beautiful, compelling images for you.

 

Step 8: Get Your ISBN Numbers + Official Copyright.

Submit your book to obtain an official copyright from the governing entity where you live. In the U.S., you can head over to Copyright.gov. It's important to note that the moment you publish an original work in a tangible form, you hold the copyright, but if you really want to enforce the copyright (especially in court), it's a good idea to file legitimately. It's very inexpensive--but I won't lie, it's not a quick process. It can take 8 months or more. This shouldn't prevent you from getting your book to market though, you can still put a serious and nifty copyright statement in your book anyways.

 

Step 9: Publish Your Book. And Set Up Your Distribution Channels.

You'll have many choices when it comes to printing and publishing your book. You can:

  • Do it the old school way of finding a local printer (or online printer) who will print + ship you a certain number of your books, which you can then sell or distribute yourself.

  • Get it done by printing with a company such as IngramSpark, who can either ship the books to you or distribute them to booksellers like Amazon.com for you.

  • Publish directly with Amazon.com using their system CreateSpace. This is the method I most often use.

  • Use a "vanity" publisher, which you'd have to pay in order to get your book published, but they typically take care of design or other elements for you. I highly recommend against this option though because it's a huge $$ investment and I think you should maintain more control over your work and always be able to DIY the parts that require it.

 

Step 10: Launch Your Book + Set Up "Perfect Paths" to Your Product.

Once you've gotten your book published, or set up with a print + fulfillment company, it's time to launch. I also consider it a super wise time investment to create ideal paths you want people to take to get to your book's purchase page. Do you want them to:

  • go from a blog post ---> a sales page?

  • go from a tweet ---> a landing page with a free chapter ---> an email list that promotes the book along with other tips on the topic?

  • go from your sidebar image ---> a blog post on the topic ---> a sales page?

What are all the ways a potential reader can come across your book? What will intrigue them? What would cause you to buy if you were a part of your own ideal audience? How can you establish trust? What can you give away for free that will really entice people to buy the full experience?

So, what's the verdict, might you try publishing a book of your own? Do you think you'd ever pursue it as a business model?