Since starting my own business just over two years ago I have had a steady stream of web design clients, almost all them through word-of-mouth as well as the odd one who finds me on Google (yay!). So far I have not had to do any advertising and I am very grateful for my customers' loving recommendations which are keeping me busy.
Promoting my e-course on the other hand is a very different beast! One that requires a lot more hustle and putting myself out there. As of today 83 people signed up to my Squarespace 101 course which is phenomenal given my still very modest online footprint. Almost all of these students took advantage of previous special offers that I ran while I was still developing the course and then of course when I had one last push after the course was finished.
Since then things have gotten quiet and I’ve been unsure how to proceed from here?
Promoting an evergreen course is trickier compared to courses that have defined time containers with deadlines that can be hyped up. For me the only way to hype things up so far has been through special offer campaigns.
There is a school of thought out there that one should not offer discounts all the time because then people will just expect them and wait for those and you’ll never sell at the full price. I see this with the company Blurb for instance, who I love and have used many times to print beautiful photo books. They are running special offers seamlessly these days and while I appreciate the discounts when I need them I am also a little tired of the constant barrage of promotional emails I am getting from them. And I would never think to pay full price again because I know another promotion will come soon.
And that’s of course ok, you can absolutely have a business model like this and be successful.
But is this the kind of business model I want for myself?
When I started writing this post I was all excited about announcing yet another discount offer for my e-course. After an amazing January this is turning into a much leaner February. So I panicked a little and thought “Oh oh, I better do a quick promotion for Valentine’s Day!” and pre-announced this in a couple of Facebook groups. And of course I am going to honor this but I will be really honest: doing this did not sit well at all.
Don’t get me wrong. I love being generous and helping people afford my services through occasional discounts, but I also know that my course offers a lot of value and that its current price point of $247 is realistic and worth it.
I am still very much feeling my way around this business of running my own company and finding my way in this vast online universe. While being my own boss has many wonderful benefits it also means that I am figuring a lot of stuff out as I go along. And one of the most important lessons I am learning is this:
It is important to get clear on my own business values.
I do not want to be known as the Squarespace web designer who keeps discounting her courses but rather as the educator and specialist who offers a substantive and enjoyable learning experience in an effective and nurturing environment that is worth every cent of my students' investment.
Building a solid and heart-centered business takes time and I am getting better at recognizing the panicky feeling for what it is: a temporary lack of confidence spurred on by the fear of missing out. I am learning that staying true to myself means that I don’t always have to give into these impulses and that if I just keep working hard on the substance of my services and products, my business will thrive in alignment with my core business values.