So you’d like to join my programme and membership community, Build Your Online Audience. You know it would be great for your business. Trouble is, it feels out of your budget right now.
If this sounds like you, the first thing you need to do is reframe the problem. Instead of saying ‘I can’t afford it’ ask yourself ‘what could I do to make it affordable?’
With that in mind, here’s ten ideas to help you raise the funds to join my Build Your Online Audience programme - ideas several business owners have already used to fund my live events, courses and coaching.
1. Get in early
2. Offset the costs with an event/offering of your own
If you want to invest in your own learning, how about hosting your own live workshop or opening up a number of consultancy slots to cover the costs of your training? If you run a product-based business, perhaps you could host a pop-up event in a local market, office or co-working space. Plenty of venues rent out space by the hour at very affordable rates (my personal tip: try schools, colleges, and churches) and you can put together a sales page on Eventbrite in minutes. Start thinking creatively and the possibilities are endless.
3. Host an online event or sale
What do you already have of value in your business? Perhaps you have some information products i.e. courses/webinars/videos you could bundle together and offer at a special price? Something you could teach in an online class or webinar? Or products you could bundle up or offer at a special price for a limited period? I’ve yet to come across any business owner who doesn’t have something to offer. No need for fancy landing pages or software- a simple email or web page will do (our Pop-Up Christmas Market (in 2017) - which we put together in less than 24 hours - is a good example of how to create a 'sale' without any fancy resources).
4. Get more customers/clients
Yep you heard me right. Work out how many new clients you’d need to attract - or products you’d need to sell - to cover the cost of your membership. Then ‘reverse engineer’ the process i.e. work out how you’re going to making it happen. If you run a consultancy or coaching business, this can be as simple as emailing your existing/previous clients to ask for referrals (or offering an additional service or ‘upgrade’). If you have a product-based business, you might consider hosting a special sale (see number 3) or hosting a pop-up event.
5. Get someone else to pay for your membership
Do you have a client who would benefit from you being part of the membership? If you can show how it could have an impact on their bottom line, you may be able to get them to contribute towards the cost or even cover the lot? If you have multiple clients who would benefit, you may be able persuade them to split the cost. Several of my own team members (all contractors with multiple clients) have done this successfully to fund their own training/personal development costs.
6. Look for money ‘behind the sofa’
- Are you paying direct debits for services you no longer use?
- Do you have any tech/equipment (or anything at all in fact) you’ve been meaning to sell on Ebay?
- Is there a dress in your wardrobe you meant to return but didn’t get round to it?
- Do you have money sitting in a bank/building society account you no longer use?
- Is there any unnecessary expenditure you could cut out right now?
Devote an hour to looking at your ‘money leaks’ and you might be pleasantly surprised how much cash you can gather together (I recently claimed back £82 that had been sitting in a dormant bank account).
7. Offset the cost of your membership with sales to other members
As a member of the Build Your Online Audience programme you’ll be encouraged to do business with other members. We do this in a number of ways - from the weekly #sells thread in our private Facebook Community (where members can post about their products/services) to online events like the Christmas Pop-Up Market. In fact, I actively encourage members to set themselves the target of making back the cost of the programme (at least) through sales to other members.
Amanda Overend, founder of Books and Pieces, academic coach Lucy Parsons, Corporate Cakery founder Samantha Whittingham and animator Beth Searle are amongst those who’ve made their membership fee back in sales to other members (and myself).
I have previously ordered bespoke cookies from Corporate Cakery to send as Christmas gifts to my top customers.
I hired animator Beth Searle to create a stop-motion video to promote my 2018 Media Diary.
Are you up for the challenge?
8. Consider if there is anything else holding you back
When prospective members tell me they don’t have the budget to join the Build Your Online Audience programme, it’s actually rarely about the money. When I dig a little bit deeper there is usually something else going on: perhaps they don’t feel ready for the membership are worried they won’t have the time to make use of the resources or they’re not convinced it will get them the results they need. So do ask yourself if there is anything else holding you back.
These are the most common concerns people have about joining the Build Your Online Audience programme. Do any of them sound familiar?
9. Put your Big Girl / Big Boy pants on
You’re an entrepreneurial sort - otherwise you wouldn’t be in business. So if you really want to sign up for the Build Your Online Audience programme, I believe you’ve got what it takes to figure out how to get yourself there. If you've tried some of the ideas above (and maybe you have some of your own) but still can't raise the funds, you may need to set it as an aspiration for the future - but at least you can say you've tried (and made some money to put towards your membership).