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How to decide if a course is really right for you

There are so many courses, coaches, and programs out there, and a lot of them offer incredible value, wisdom, and resources… For the people that truly need them.

So how do you decide whether a course is right for you, right now?

  1. It’s for you if… it solves a problem you’ve already identified.

I hope that you’ve already figured out the things holding you back. There are plenty of ways people can tell you about a problem you didn’t even know about, and then sell you the solution. Sometimes that’s helpful. Sometimes it’s not a problem you need to fix RIGHT NOW. 

I see a lot of people in the industry selling education about Facebook ads. But if you don’t have the budget, and don’t know what you’re trying to achieve or the wider strategy to support it, that course isn’t for you RIGHT NOW.

But you’ve probably identified a few things that you need to work on or need help with, and you can prioritise them first.

So if a course or coach is solving a problem you’ve already identified, go ahead and find out more! If you didn’t know about this problem, check in with yourself: is it really a priority for you right now?

  1. It’s for you if… you can afford it.

There are two factors to affordability.

The first is can you afford to pay for it right now? If you have the literal cash in your bank account at this very moment, great! Keep finding out more. If you don’t, and would consider putting this on a personal or business credit card, you need to be really, really confident that you’re going to get a return on your investment, and in the relatively short-term.

Because that’s part two: the ROI. I’m all for investing in your personal, professional, and business development. This is essential for growth. And sometimes gaining confidence and a positive feeling is worth the investment without any numbers on it, but let’s also give our brains the opportunity to do some maths.

To cover the cost of this course, coach, or program, what level of revenue would you need to bring in? For example, The Better Business Collective is £250 when you pay upfront. If you’re a product-based business (the core business type for The Collective) and you have a 25% profit margin on your products (the rate I recommend as a minimum), you need to make £1,000 in sales to cover the cost of the program.

Since The Better Business Collective is four months long, you’d need to make £1,000 over the course of four months to break even on the investment.

So when you look at the program and the resources offered, are they tools that will help you to make MORE THAN £1,000 on top of your normal turnover in that time frame? (I’m fairly confident that the email templates, marketing support, business review, and live workshops will bring in a lot more than that, just for the record…)

You can use this same calculation for any course, coach, or program.

  1. It’s for you if… you can commit to the time required.

It’s really easy to purchase a course and figure out when you’ll actually do it later. Read the sales page carefully. Does it have a clear estimate of how much time you’ll need to actually make use of the resources? If not, red flag! And if so, is that manageable for you?

For example, if you sign up for The Better Business Collective, I recommend having about an hour to 90 minutes a week available to work on the program materials and make the most of the community. That includes these monthly activities:

  • The monthly Game-Changing Success Ritual preparation (1 hour) and live call (1 hour)
  • Time to create your email and other marketing content (either on your own, or in an hour-long live workshop)
  • Getting support from me and the community each week in the focus and flow community posts

You might decide to take extra time to plan a photoshoot to support your marketing content, for example, or dive deeper into your Game-Changing Success Ritual preparation and analysis. But to really get the benefits of the resources, 60-90 minutes a week is ideal. (And yes, you can spend less time on it in December!)

  1. It’s for you if… it supports your learning style.

How many of us have signed up for a self-paced course and then never completed it? HAND UP. Me, too. It’s so easy to do, right?

And have you ever bought a course that’s 100% PDF reading, when you’re an audio or kinaesthetic learner? Chances are, you didn’t get as much out of that one.

If you get the most out of things that are live, look for resources with live workshops – great if you struggle with accountability or prioritising the work.

If you like to hear things said aloud rather than reading, look for courses and programs where there’s a video or audio version.

If you’re really visual, you’re going to work best with videos, well-designed PDFs and clear overviews.

If, like me, you’re a kinaesthetic learning (you learn by doing), look for resources that have checklists, step-by-step structures, and clear instructions.

I am OBSESSED with figuring out as much about ourselves as possible, so that we can make smart decisions. Whatever you know works for you, check in: does the course you’re considering have that?

(And yes, The Better Business Collective has self-paced options, live workshops, great PDFs, and clear step-by-steps. I’ve got you covered.)

  1. It’s for you if… you’re ready.

I know it sounds silly, because of course we all want more success and a better life and to feel happier, but making real progress and committing to sustainable growth (whether material, mental, emotional or spiritual) takes energy. It takes commitment. You have to be really ready.

You have to be ready to commit to yourself through the course or program. No matter how well it’s written or delivered or coached, if you don’t yet believe that you deserve more success (and the course doesn’t support you in that), there’s a chance you’ll self-sabotage and drop off the course.

So yes, be ready to do the course, but be ready to do the inner work, too. (Even better, find a course or coach or program who helps you do BOTH at the same time…)

And even if all the previous questions were a yes, even if all your logic says it’s the right thing, step back for a moment and ask your gut, ask your heart – and even your soul – are you really ready for this exact route into your future?

Listen closely. Then decide.

PS I hope this helps you figure out if The Better Business Collective is right for you. I hope you’ll, at least, check it out before the doors close on Monday 14 September.

3 powerful habits to adapt if you’re a creative business owner or solopreneur

I’ve been working with creative business owners for 10 years, first as part of the wonderful world of Notonthehighstreet, and then independently for six years as a business coach and mentor.

In that time, I’ve had thousands of one-on-one sessions. I’ve run workshops and courses. And I’ve led weekend-long retreats. I’ve worked with tiny, just-starting-out businesses, and female founders now leading huge seven-figure turnover enterprises.

And one of the things I’ve noticed? Something magical happens when creative business owners start doing three things. No, it’s not posting on Instagram every day, or creating Facebook ads. It’s not having a wholesale catalogue, getting professional photography, or signing up for every course going. Those things (and lots more I haven’t mentioned) may be the right actions for you to take. But the three things I’m about to share are legitimate game-changers that everyone can do, no matter where you are in business.

Ready? Here are three things you need to stop avoiding:

1. Checking your numbers regularly.

I see you, avoiding looking at your bank account, sales figures, tax return, and open rates. I know it’s vulnerable. I know it opens you up to feeling bad about your business, your ideas, and your self-worth. I’ve been there.

But it’s soooooo worth getting courageous on this one!

What you need to do: 

Here’s what I recommend: choose 5-10 key numbers you’re going to check each month, such as your turnover, your expenses, your profit margin, and a couple of key marketing numbers, like your email open rate or Instagram followers. Book a time in your calendar every month, and try to make it the same time and day, like the first Tuesday afternoon of the month.

Key action: 

Make it enjoyable! If that means ordering “I’m a proper business lady” brownies or going to a local coffee shop, do it. You could meet up with a business bestie, take the afternoon off afterwards, or get yourself all cosied up with a candle, some good music, and a pot of tea in the studio.

Why it helps: 

The reason checking your numbers regularly is a game-changer is that it gives you a whole load of accurate, up-to-date data on what’s working on your business, and what’s not. That data, in turn, helps you make smarter business decisions that are totally right for you.

2. Valuing your creative skills and talents

Hooooooo-eee. If I had a pound for every creative who undercharges, doesn’t value their own skills, or doesn’t prioritise their creative time, well, I would go on a nice fancy holiday!

You’ve been creative most of your life, and you’re pretty damn good at illustration / graphic design / sewing / [insert your own talent here]. So you wouldn’t pay someone else to create something like that for you – because you can do it yourself! But there are millions (billions?) of people across the globe who CAN’T create the way you can, but they want a home and life filled with creativity nonetheless.

The other part of not valuing your creativity is that you don’t prioritise creative playtime. Your creativity is your greatest asset. It’s the golden goose that will create income-generating designs for years to come. As long as you allow yourself to cultivate it and develop. If you can’t remember the last time you had time to brainstorm, play with ideas, go to an inspiring art gallery, it’s time for that to change.

What you need to do: 

First, check your pricing. Are you charging in a way that values your time, energy, and talents? Chances are, you’re not. (I typically tell 75% of new clients to put their prices up by 20%.) Plan a price increase and get courageous with it.

Key action: 

Book design time into your week or month. I’m not kidding! Regular time to play with ideas (without the pressure of creating the next bestseller) is a HUGE investment in the future of your business. Make it a regular habit now, and you’ll thank me later. (And please do – I like hearing it’s paid off!)

Why it’s important: 

Oh boy, this one’s not just important for you, it’s a whole movement; it’s important for society and our culture and our children and our future. Ultimately, this one’s a mindset shift, as well as actions to take. But shifting that perspective will allow you to continue building a business that is profitable, sustainable, and a powerful force for good in the world.

3. Prioritising your time (and your to-do list).

Did you notice both the first two points included adding some time to your calendar? That wasn’t a happy coincidence. Lots of creatives like going with the flow (me too!) and being in the mood to create (still me too), but we can also end up trying to do wayyyyyy too many things at once, without any of them paying off.

You can still have fun creative time (see above), but prioritising your time and to-do list is so worth doing, I’m tempted to march round right now and help you do it!

What to do: 

Choose three or so goals to focus on. That means you’re not trying to do a billion different projects all at once. Once you’ve set up your new website THEN you can get stuck into Facebook ads – just don’t do both at once! 

Key action: 

With your goals in mind, you can prioritise your to-do list on a daily or weekly basis, so that your time is spent doing urgent and important things that are really going to make a difference.

Why it’s important: 

When you focus and prioritise, it’s much easier to learn about what you’re working on, and do it well. If you’re just focusing on Instagram, rather than allllll the social channels, you can learn which hashtags work for you, you can get excited about creating content that people enjoy, and you can really get into the swing of making it work for you. Trying to juggle too many things leads to burnout, lack of enthusiasm, and big business disasters. 

Stop avoiding these three key things!

I’m not saying these are the only things you need to do in order to get that thriving, sustainable, and meaningful business. But they are things creatives commonly avoid (at various levels), but that really unlock potential.

So maybe you’ll just do one at a time, or maybe you’re ready to get going with all three. If you do get started, let me know so that I can cheer you on!

And if you’d like some help, I thoroughly recommend checking out The Better Business Collective, the membership group for makers and solopreneurs ready to strengthen their business from the inside out.

I’m running a FREE workshop all about Habit 1: Checking your numbers regularly through a Game-Changing Success Ritual. What the f is that? Join me on Wednesday 2 September to find out!

I’m not great at following recipes, but here’s why it helps my business

I love to cook. Okay, the one-year-old and lockdown juggle might be holding me back a little right now, but mostly I enjoy the creativity of preparing meals.

And that’s just it for me: the creativity. Like a lot of things, I’m in it for the creative flair, and sometimes that doesn’t necessarily work out in my (husband’s) favour.

I want to be able to just throw in a dash of this and a dollop of that. I want to be able to sense when the souffles are done. (I’ve never actually made souffles, but you know what I mean.) And I want to be able to play around and produce something yummy that everyone enjoys.

Sometimes it works. There are dishes I can vary depending on my mood, like a risotto with a select combination from the fridge and cupboard, or a slow cooked casserole. Usually, I can play around with these meals because I’ve learned the recipes by heart and made them many times.

Because guess what I resist, literally and metaphorically, in the kitchen and in life? Recipes.

Friends, I do not like being told what to do.

Partly, hello, I’m a rebel. Partly, I want to be able to intuit the best formula for a dish.

But you know what helps me to learn how to cook and discover the best formula for a dish? Recipes.

So what do recipes have to do with business?

You might have guessed that – just like this recent post about cake – there’s a food-based metaphor going on here. (I just love a metaphor, especially a food one.)

Just like in cooking, there are recipes in business, too. Not in exactly the same way, but pretty close. Processes, structures, templates, tips, and step-by-step instructions. Using things is art and science, formula and instinct, logical and creative.

Just like in cooking, you can discover a process in business and once you’ve got the hang of it, you can play around and make it your own. (Or even write it from scratch in the first place.)

Let’s say you want to be able to create a delicious marketing offering. You can learn about how to create different types of content – photos, videos, written pieces – and schedule them. You can follow some suggested recipes and guides. And as you practice, you’ll learn your favourite flavours, and the ones your family (customers) love the best.

Maybe you’ll find some crowd pleasers. Maybe the first time you make a souffle, it won’t rise. (Chances are.) But maybe on the third attempt, it’s just right: perfectly light, gooey in the middle and a little crispy on top.

I love reading about marketing and business. It’s a bit like browsing Pinterest or a good cook book for foodie inspiration.

There are also times when I find a recipe I want to learn by heart, like a basis for making my own granola (that was a pre-baby obsession) that I can mix and match when I like.

My game-changing recipe realisation

Realising and accepting that recipes are in fact helpful and not something I need to rebel against has been GAME CHANGING for me. The structure they give me allows me to be at my creative best. (And yes, I’m kind of talking about business here, not just oat to raisin ratios…)

If you, like me, have realised the value of having a structure and a recipe, I think you’re going to like The Better Business Collective. It has a whole load of templates for sending email newsletters to your subscribers (a VERY worthwhile marketing endeavour), as well as a stunning, magical, easy-but-doesn’t-mean-we-do-it Game-Changing Success Ritual that has the power to level UP your business and your mindset.

You’re oh so welcome in The Better Business Collective if you:

  • Want to raise your business savvy up a level
  • Know that you want to work ON your business rather than IN it but struggle to actually make that happen on the regular
  • Love learning and implementing business and marketing strategy live and in community with other humans in business
  • Are a rebel, like yours truly, and want to get out of your own way 
  • Aren’t a rebel, but would love to unlock your potential and create your own version of success

Let’s get cooking, shall we?

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