I’ve had my business for almost 10 years. The typical creative deal: pitch projects, meet deadlines, convince clients they need to pay for quality and that the teen kid down the street can’t do the same thing for way much less. It’s all trading time for money.
For several years, I’ve felt there had to be a better way to go about this. I picked up some courses on building an audience business online, but never made it through them. Lots of trainings on building a blog or email list or social media engagement. All very much little pieces here and there.
Summer a year ago, I determined something had to change. At the same time I got an email from Marisa about early bird registration for Message to Money. It was the following February. Of course schedules are clear that far in advance, so I signed up. Registration wasn’t that much, so I figured I wasn’t out much if I ended up not going. But I went.
February 2016 I was in LA for Message to Money. I knew it was going to be good from the previews Marisa had provided. No, it was way better. I took notes like crazy, seeing a new direction for my business unfold.
At the closing, when we all shared what the weekend had meant to us, I said that I came to try to fix a business I didn’t like anymore and left with excitement and feeling like I finally really am an entrepreneur.
Back home, I formulated a plan to pivot the business. It felt like changing the course of an aircraft carrier. I have ongoing client commitments that need to continue, so can’t mess with those at this point. I put together a curriculum of things I needed to do to get from here to there over the next year. It felt like being in grad school again.
One of the big action steps in the curriculum was to develop an online product for my refocused business. Just at the time I was ready for that step, Marisa sent out an announcement that she was launching something called Experience Products Masterclass. It was all I could hope for.
The 8 weeks promised to be grueling on top of my regular client work. Yet, I knew that this was the opportunity of a lifetime. Actually, if I didn’t take the EPM class, I’d still have to do all the work there on my own because I was committed to get to the end result of launching my own online product.
So I took a deep breath and jumped in. The class has been busy, very busy. I went in thinking I would productize my main offering: done-for-you website in 90 days. Talking with my coach, I pivoted to offering a course to go before the full website deal: A 4 week course to create a blueprint for your next website. That tied in with the feedback I got from my survey and from talking with clients. My course would allow people to cut through the confusion, get to know me, and build confidence in what they need in a website, all before committing to a full website project.
In EPM, Marisa has walked us all through the process, start to finish, hammered in that done is better than perfect (yes, I’m a perfectionist and would keep fiddling to get it better and probably never launch). The pace has been quick. All reminding me of being film production classes in college where all students invariably would take incompletes (because we couldn’t get the film done in the 14 or 16 weeks of the semester, but we would be able to finish it on top of another semester’s schedule).
Back then, our film professor would just shake his head at our youthful folly. I figure that’s how Marisa feels about us poor EPM students and I know the 2nd and 3rd and 4th time around, developing an online product will be so much faster. I learned so much. It changed my whole perspective on what I deliver and I want to productize and experiencify everything I do going forward.
I’m behind schedule and just about to open registration for my course. I’m excited about the course and its potential. Since it is at the start of a customer journey, I see how it can easily provide a very significant cash flow into the business that will keep going for years to come.
I’ve also taken what I learned in EPM into other areas of my business. I recently talked with a client about me providing content management services for their website. New was that I presented it entirely in terms from EPM, asking the client “What if you knew that content on your website was being taken care of for you in a timely manner…”, focusing on the transformation and not the “here’s all the great stuff I’m going to do for you”. The client said ‘yes’.
At $2200, it’s not a huge contract, but it’s the start of productizing what I previously offered as totally custom services (and never very successfully). And at $2200, it exceeds the minimum goal for EPM, even before registration for the actual course has started.
Would I recommend EPM to someone else? If you are serious about launching a product online, this is the way to do it. Marisa delivered so much value, and kept adding more value as the course went on. I know I will be using these materials again. Yes, I need to launch and deliver my first course first. But then there will be another online product and another…