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Sell Peaks Along The Mountain
The following is from one of my business partners and former clients, Olly Richards.
I’ve worked with him over the past 2 years and have watched him build both a personal brand, alongside his company Story Learning.
I thought you’d enjoy this deeply.
In 2015, I attended a marketing conference in London.
During one talk, the speaker made a passing comment about a smart way to plan your products for maximum profit.
It was a passing comment…
Barely a whisper…
Took him less than 30 seconds.
But that comment made me millions of dollars.
Unfortunately, I forgot the name of the chap on stage that day. But I would like to share what I learnt with you right now, so you can make a lot more money and provide a better experience for your customers.
If you peddle your wares in the realm of digital products, then take a seat, tilt an ear, and cup your shells…
A Tale Of Two Courses
In April 2020, I was in the same place as everybody else…
Locked down, sat on my backside, wondering WTF was going on.
I decided to scratch a multi-year itch and learn to draw. So I started clicking on Instagram ads for drawing courses that were popping up in my feed.
I bought two courses.
The first course I bought was from a Scandinavian illustration guru.
His drawings were spectacular.
The premise of the course was: Learn to draw anything!
Sure enough, he tried to show me how to draw anything, just like him. He would say things like “Just imagine it and you can draw it!”
But, of course, I couldn’t draw it.
I couldn’t draw anything.
It was far too much, all at once. I got frustrated and quit.
The second course was completely different…
It was a $20 ebook, entitled “How to draw stick figures.”
The whole premise was that you learn to draw stick figures with different poses and emotions. Nothing complex. Just learning to convey different moods through stick figures.
I absolutely loved the course.
It was specific and achievable.
With minimal effort, I felt like I’d learnt something real and tangible — a huge win in my book!
Feeling chuffed with myself, I thought: “Gimme another taste of that sweet knowledge!”
I was on such a high from my stick figure productions that she could have pitched me a deal on a rusty old kitchen sink, and I would have snapped it up faster than a toupee in a hurricane.
I don’t know about you, but that’s the kind of irrational passion I want to create in my students.
The Blueprint of a $10m online education business [Case Study]
Today’s issue is brought to you by Olly Richards, who writes a newsletter about scaling online education businesses.
Olly scaled his company from scratch to a 10 million dollar course business.
If you want to see behind the scenes on how he scaled his company, he’s written a free 117-page case study — essential reading if you’re an educator, creator, coach or expert.
Peaks Along The Mountain
The mistake of the first course was to try to offer the a complete solution to my drawing ambitions.
The course was selling the Summit of the Mountain:
As it happened, the course wasn’t much good.
But, imagine if it had been great. And by the end I could “Draw Anything!”… exactly like the guru.
What more could he have offered me?
See, when you reach the summit of the mountain, there ain’t no higher ground. There’s nowhere else to go. And this is business model suicide.
The second course, however, didn’t sell the summit…
The second course sold the first peak along the way — stick figures!
What could be simpler than that?
rawing stick figures sounds stupid simple. But:
Smart educators understand the value of generating quick wins and building momentum gradually.
Small peaks along the way are achievable.
You get results more easily.
When you get results, you’re more motivated.
When you’re motivated, you want to keep learning.
And if you’ve only reached the first peak along the way… there’s pleeeenty more to learn.
Also – by this point, you’ve found yourself a guru for life. There’s no hitting the road in search of greener pastures.
And what does this mean for a business?
This is what:
Customers coming back again and again, spending a lot more $$$, leaving rave reviews, and referring friends along the way.
Summit vs Peaks
Let’s spell out what this means:
If you offer the complete solution to a problem (the Summit of the Mountain), you have:
• Lower student completion rates
• Fewer opportunities for repeat purchases
• Less opportunity to form teacher <> student bond
On the other hand, if you offer a series of smaller, sequential solutions (peaks along the way), you’re:
• Converting customers more easily
• Creating quick wins
• Building trust
Creating repeat customers
Regardless of the economics of both models, from the perspective of both the educator and the business model, the “Peaks” model is laying a much stronger foundation for growth.
What Do Your Peaks Look Like?
In education, everyone wants the “miracle transformation”.
But the way they get there is through consistent steps – laying one brick after the other until the wall is complete.
Smart businesses build their business model to align with the learning process, by offering peaks along the mountain, instead of the summit.
So, grab a pen and paper…
Do a bit of blue sky thinking…
What would your offer look like as a series of peaks along the mountain, on the way to the summit?
Here’s a few things I thought you might love…
1. If you’re not signed up for Online Business Owner Digest, I highly recc. that you do.
2. If you didn’t check Olly’s guide on how he scaled his $10M business, here is the link to check it out.
3. Want behind the scenes on one of the newsletters we bought? Check out this issue from my investing newsletter.