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Let’s start with coaching/consultancy clients. And then we’ll look at project packages. And then corporate packages.
The package I signed up to with Juliette, my manifestation coach, was three months. This included a one-hour phone call every two weeks, plus Whatsapp and email support between calls.
But she included a clever idea. I could only message her about the subject of our last conversation.
So if we spoke about a new course launch on the phone call, I couldn’t then Whatsapp her about what to charge for a new one-to-one consultancy package, for instance.
If you would like a set period commitment – one month, three, a year – decide how many phone calls you should offer. Juliette does calls every two weeks to allow me to actually work on what we’ve talked about between sessions.
She’s based in Australia and we do our phone calls on Whatsapp, which works well.
I will say that if you’re going to offer messaging in between phone calls, it’s worth setting expectations in terms of your response time. Will you get back to your client within an hour, four hours, 24 hours?
‘As and when’
I listen to this podcast about ‘law of attraction’ and in each episode, the host reminds you that she offers one-to-one coaching.
One day, I was struggling with a work issue and I wanted some help working through it.
So I booked in and had a phone call with her the following day.
I paid $150.
It was great, just what I needed.
Perhaps for Jennifer, the coach, this rolling availability works with her lifestyle.
For me, it’s harder to know when I will and won’t be available for phone calls. So I like to set the dates and times in advance.
With business consultancy, though, this flexibility can be useful. For instance, if someone suddenly has a burning question about social media, or pricing.
But you need to be quite ‘available’ to make this happen. So not tied into many other work commitments.
If you feel you would like to see the person you’re working with – or think they’d like to see you – Zoom or Skype will work better. I’ve had Zoom coaching and for me, it’s not necessary. In fact, I find phone calls simpler and there’s less pressure to check how you look/your surroundings.
This can work well if you don’t have set work hours but find it easy to pick up emails and respond. If you choose this option, I’d strongly advise you set boundaries and expectations. So perhaps you respond to emails Monday-Friday, 9am-5pm. And you will get back within four hours.
You can decide what timings work for you. But if you don’t set boundaries and expectations, people will make assumptions. So with The Robora, I set the days and times but not response time. At the start, I responded within the hour. But that then meant an instant response was expected.
And I couldn’t always do that.
So next time, I’ll set expectations more carefully.
Whatsapp and Facebook Messenger
Between phone calls/emails, will you offer additional messaging support? It might be that shorter messages are allowed on Messenger or Whatsapp but longer ones need to be email, or wait until your scheduled phone call.
As I mentioned: I keep these two options for my personal life and find it annoying when work messages ping up on either platform, so I don’t include it in any of my packages.
Work plans, downloadables and exercises
With The Robora, I had my group of 15 women sign up and start together at the beginning of March. I created a set of questions in Survey Monkey asking:
- I want to hear what’s working, what’s not, what you’d like more of…
- In one sentence (10 words max), describe your business…
- What are your top three business goals?
- Who is your target customer/client? (with prompts, like: ‘age’, ‘occupation’
- Is your business or freelance work generating an income?
- Let’s talk figures… (what they are earning; what they want to be earning)
- What strategies have you tried for selling/finding new clients?
- Where would you love to see your business featured? (magazine, newspaper, podcast, blog etc)
- When do you work on your business; do you have other commitments (job/kids), and how many hours are usually available each week?
- You have a magic wand. Where is your business, one year from now?
This gave them an opportunity to think about what they’d like to get out of the business consultancy package with me, and I used their answers to make a work plan for them.
I also visited their website and one social media platform so that I could review it all, which gave me an opportunity to get to know all the women and their businesses really well.
I then spent about three hours preparing a ‘work plan’ for each of them.
This included ideas for updating the copy on their website, their social media bios and a day-by-day plan for achieving all that they’d noted in their survey answers.
They enjoyed receiving their work plans, and it gave them a structure to follow. It did mean, though, that my workload was very heavy at the start. And this was an issue in terms of payments – but I’ll cover this in the ‘money’ section.
Suffice to say, having this engagement and work plan worked well and, from the feedback I had, felt like really good value. And a nice way to start working together.
You could offer a downloadable worksheet for your clients, or exercises for them to try. I think this really adds depth to the package you’re offering.
Having a launch date
For both the ‘unlimited email consultancy’ package, and The Robora – my four-month consultancy package – I had a start date.
That meant everyone who signed up would start on the same day. Not only did this make it easier for me in terms of knowing what my work commitments were, but it also meant that financially, I knew I was sorted for a fixed period.
It can also help to have a start date in terms of drumming up interest. You can start talking about ‘sales opening soon’ on your social media platforms, and it creates some excitement.
Then, when sales open, you make an announcement and again, before they close – you can do a ‘get in there before it’s too late’ message.
Within the package that you’re offering, you can include a Facebook group for clients to do group networking alongside the one-to-one work they’re doing with you.
Perhaps you set exercises, and they can share their responses in the group.
If you’re a graphic designer, photographer, interior designer, therapist – or work in another profession that isn’t coaching or consultancy – you can also ‘open spaces’ at a set time.
Working like this can help you to create a marketing strategy around it.
So if you open up spaces for five/10+ clients a week, for a three-month period (for instance), all your messaging can be building up to sales opening, perhaps an early bird offer, and then sales closing.
And you’ll have set clients, for a set period, paying a set amount.
It can be a programme – with a theme, or focus – or simply that you will be committing a day and time each week, to those people, for that three-month period.
And as it comes to a close, you can start marketing the next round.
Other package ideas
I asked on Instagram whether anyone had a one-to-one package that they felt worked really well and some of the responses were great. I’ve added my comments below each idea, in bold.
“I offer 1-2-1 cycle tracking and mapping to support women to investigate, understand and then plan their lives in tune with either their menstrual cycle, or the moon (depending on if they have an inner cycle). I do two 1-2-1 calls, and email in between. The women end up with affirmations and a calendar which help them plan their next cycle, and blank templates to use going forward. Most women request another round of two calls 6 months later or so. I love it because it’s pretty intense support for a month or so, then women go away and understand and investigate their own bodies. Empowering.”
I love the sound of the calendar Emily is offering here; a ‘downloadable’ that is genuinely useful. Plus affirmations to keep repeating once the sessions have ended. And a template for moving forward is clever – perhaps this is why they come back six months later … Emily is still on their minds as they fill out that template.
“I think the immediacy of having that contact with someone 1:1 whether it’s via email or WhatsApp or voxer or whatever is PRICELESS. When I worked 1:1 with @keri_l_jarvis late last year I rinsed that extra contact between sessions for all it was worth, as she will testify. It was invaluable having that level of support from her. And now, with my own clients I’m constantly bigging up that element of my 1:1 package because I want to be that involved with all they’re doing and wherever they think they’ll benefit from that support from me, I want to give it!”
So a big ‘yes’ to the messaging between phone-calls. Perhaps when there’s less pressure, the questions/answers come more easily. It feels like this option is definitely worth exploring, though do create some boundaries in terms of your availability.
“We offer one to one or group postnatal consultations where we listen to the mums and then make a plan of support for once their baby arrives or for whenever they need it, think sleep, weaning, mums nutrition, physio, postnatal fitness, baby massage, essential oils know how, cloth nappy advice etc. All planned, booked and sorted for you! We also include an ‘on the doorstep’ survey where we collate a list of all the local support/classes going on.”
This is such a great customisable service. As a new mum, everything can feel quite overwhelming. Having someone else find the classes for you, as well as supporting you physically and mentally, sounds so lovely. A very useful plan, I imagine.
If you work in the creative industries, tech, finance, food and your work is more project-based, being clear on what’s included in your packages is important. Here’s a question to consider…
Will you be working on a retainer, so you’re paid a monthly fee and work a set amount of hours? Or is the work offered on a project-by-project basis?
I work with a VA (virtual assistant), a web designer and a book-keeper.
My VA, Katie, is on a retainer. So we’ve agreed on two hours a week that we’re both committed to – me in paying for this, Katie in fulfilling the work. This suits me, as I know I have Katie’s help on answering support emails, and helping people with logging into courses if there are issues.
The web designer, Claire, who helps me with all my websites, works on a freelance ‘as and when’ basis. So when I need help (which is most weeks), I brief Claire and she does the work when she can. We’ve built up a trusting relationship, and Claire invoices me for the hours (she logs them).
My book-keeper is also on a retainer arrangement, where I’ve committed to monthly payments, and she invoices at the end of each month. I know that my monthly bookkeeping will be done; Sarah knows that this is one of the jobs she has on a rolling basis.
Now another question:
Would you prefer to have regular work, or to work ‘as and when’ – picking the projects that work for you?
If you’re looking for regular work, think about how you can create a role for yourself within your client’s business. So if you’re a copywriter, could you write monthly blog posts? If you’re a designer, could you create imagery for social media?
For ad-hoc projects, be really clear on what’s involved. And be mindful of your time. So work out how long the project will take, including communication, before pricing it up. And decide on how many ‘amends’ you will offer.
Some clients will keep finding fault and/or changing their mind. Having it clearly written into your contract that there will be two/three sets of amends included in the price will encourage them to only ask for changes that are absolutely necessary.
This is where the big bucks lie. In corporate packages. So packaging up your skills and offering group workshops in a corporate environment. Or with a big business that has the £££ to afford your highest value service.
For this package, you could offer a presentation of sorts: so you are doing some teaching at the beginning of the workshop, before inviting participants to get involved. There could be partner and group exercises, and ‘speed mentoring’ with you.
You could also run the whole thing online. So a live workshop, on Zoom or similar, where either it’s just you presenting and people can contribute via the ‘chat’ box. Or you can all see each other, which makes it feel more interactive and like a workshop rather than a lecture/lesson.
Or, if you pre-recorded a suite of online courses, you could license it out for a fee. So maybe they have access to these courses for six months and you offer a programme, explaining how to use the courses (suggesting they focus on one module a week, for instance, that employees get access to on a Monday morning).
Whether it’s live or pre-recorded, you could set an exercise and – for an additional fee; or included in your pricing – you could mark their exercises, or give feedback.
An additional option to encourage interaction and participation: invite anyone who will be attending the online or live workshop to submit questions, anonymously, in advance.
That way, people aren’t going to be put on the spot or forced to speak up in front of their colleagues, when maybe that doesn’t feel comfortable.
And it gives you some useful content that you could structure your workshop around.
If I was going into a corporate to teach online business, I’d charge £3000-£5000 for a morning. Just to give you an idea. These businesses have plenty of dosh, do keep that in mind when pricing up your workshop.
Also, going in too low may just lose you the job. It might make them think you’re not as skilled as you are. Go high. And if it’s too high, they may try to haggle you down. But they almost certainly won’t haggle you up. Unless they are very forward-thinking and feminist.
And most aren’t.
The services page on your website
Once you’ve decided what services you’re going to offer, you should create a ‘services’ page on your website. I’d recommend having the prices there, visible. This idea that they should be hidden is, in my view, a crap one. It just wastes people’s time.
If you state on your website that your packages are £1000+, for instance, and you get someone looking for a service that costs £300 – and not a penny more – the match isn’t right. Put your prices on your website, and you’ll filter out the people who don’t want/can’t afford to spend that much.
I’m going to cover how online courses can lead to people investing in your higher value one-to-ones later on, but for now I’d like to say that having a cheaper service (an online course, or a 1/2-hour session, for instance) can be a good way to give people a taste of what you are offering.
So something worth around £100/£150.
Then, they are much more likely to invest in your £1000+ three-month package.
On this services page, make the packages you offer very clear. Explain exactly what’s included. Keep it short; too many words will bore the reader. Just tell them what they will gain from working with you. Because they are there for themselves.
And in terms of naming your packages, again: make it clear. So a title like The Fanciest Frilliest One means nothing if what you’re trying to sell is your high-end branding package. Call it: The Ultimate Branding Package, or something else that clearly states what it’s all about.
When I launched The Robora, I called my four-month package The Robora Membership. It worked quite well, as people were saying online that they were ‘part of The Robora’. But the next one will be called The Online Business programme – because really, that’s the focus.
Again, for ideas about packaging up your services, naming them and how much information to include – do your research. See what others are doing. And cherry-pick the best ideas to re-create on your own website.
If you’re offering ‘as and when’ coaching or consultancy, you can use a website like Acuity for booking in clients. I found it really user-friendly and easy to set up. You can have a calendar that shows your available slots. Once set up, embed the link from Acuity in your ‘services’ page on your website. Then the calendar, and your availability, appear on your website. You can also create automatic reminders for your clients.
If you do project-based client work, you might need a phone call or email communication before booking in the dates. Different clients will have different needs, and this might affect your price and the time it takes. But however you determine what your potential client is looking for help with, and how you can work together, make sure you have the agreement in writing.
- Three-hour photoshoot
- Location: XYZ
- Three digital photos included
- Additional photos: £50 each.
Add in as much detail as you can, and leave no room for error/confusion/misinterpretation.
Be careful what you commit to. When I was planning The Robora, I originally had an idea to do a one-year package with two live meet-ups. but I quickly realised that I actually didn’t want to commit to one year.
It was the first time I’d done a big launch for one-to-ones, so I decided to reduce it to four months. And with young kids, the live meet-ups were going to be hard, so I took that out of the offering.
Instead, I launched a four-month package, and this felt like a really good length of time to get stuck in with each of the members, to learn lots about them and their business, and to offer all my ideas for business growth.
You should also be really clear on what’s included. For instance, can your clients send you attachments to read? If they’re working on a video and would like you to watch it; will you? The clearer you are about what is included, the less space there is for disappointment.
Vet potential clients
Once you are clear on your ideal client, and this is reflected in all the content you’re sharing, and the queries start coming in: vet them. Have a ‘discovery call’ or talk through email. Whatever feels right for you.
You might like to create a survey in Survey Monkey, or similar, that potential clients need to fill out before they have a discovery/intro call with you. This will filter out the time-wasters. Also, it will give you an idea about where the person is at, and how they would like you to help them.
My coach, Juliette, has a form that you have to fill out and she uses it to decide whether she’ll be able to help you. You click ‘Apply now’ on her website, and it takes you to this form. If the fit feels right, she emails to arrange an initial consultation/call.
The coach Suzy Ashworth has a questionnaire to fill out before she’ll talk about working with you. And it includes a question about your income. She has decided she only wants to work with high-earners, so this question filters out those who won’t be able to easily afford her services.
I had a consultancy package, which required potential clients to apply. You can see it here. This is my way of filtering out people who don’t feel right for me.
If you work in the creative industries, you could use a form like this to lure in potential clients. So ask questions about what help they’re looking for; why they’ve come to you. And the process of filling it out will get them thinking about the ways that you could help them.
For instance, if you work in interior design, you could have questions like:
- How would you describe your home in one word?
- How would you like to describe your home, in a sentence?
- Do you feel you have a very set interiors style, or are you open to trying new things?
And have a quickfire round –
- Bold or understated?
- Calm or chaotic?
- Vintage or luxury?
If you offer treatments, you could ask questions like:
- What brings you here; what would you like my help with?
- How is life, in general, right now: relatively calm or under lots of pressure?
- How would you like to feel after the treatment?
The aim with these questions is to 1. Get an idea of what this potential client is like because if you read their answers and alarm bells ring: they are not the right fit for you. And 2. To get them into the mindset of working with you. Your questions will be an insight into how you work.
Remember, you don’t have to sign up for one-to-one work with the first client who walks in. Be selective, as you might lose money down the line by signing up someone who doesn’t pay on time, or who demands a refund once the work is done.
Don’t push it
About six months ago, I wanted a business coach. Someone I knew approached me and said they had a coaching package that might be of interest. We had an initial call, and I loved the sound of it. But when I asked the price, and she told me it was £7000 for three months, I gasped.
That was way more than I had in mind or wanted to pay.
Now, I’m at a different stage in my business. But this coach was wise and when she could hear I wasn’t financially ready for her, she let it go. She didn’t push. This has left it open for me to go back to her.
So if you have that initial call and you sense a lot of hesitation and uncertainty; see it as a sign that now isn’t the right time. And drop it. Move on. Wait for your ideal client to drop into your life. Because they will. And they’ll be sure they want to work with you.
And that feels good.