Welcome to Episode 58, where we focus on the crucial steps for crafting a successful group program.
I’m here today to share the top five mistakes you should avoid when building your group program, drawn from my experience and insights in the field.
Whether you’re just starting out or looking to refine your existing program, this episode is packed with essential guidance to help you navigate the challenges and maximise your program’s impact and success.
Come mastermind with us! https://pollylavarello.com/mastermind-day
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Welcome to make more money without selling your soul with me Polly Lavarello, evergreen marketing expert. This podcast is for you if you are an online entrepreneur who is looking to simplify their business to scale. On this podcast you can expect to hear regular talk about wills about selling and about well being. Because I believe these three core fundamental things are pivotal to your growth moving forward.
Welcome to make more money without selling your soul with myself Polly Lavarello, Evergreen marketing expert and cushy business pioneer. And this week is the first week that I am recording this on video. So we can have some as they refer to it in the marketing space as long form content on YouTube. So hello, and welcome to my YouTube channel if you’re watching it on there, and be using some video grammes. So you’re going to be seeing a bit more behind the scenes of my podcast, which is going to be even more exciting when we bring on guests and probably a little less exposing on actually put some makeup on. But here we are, here we are. This is real entrepreneurial life. I quite frankly, just was scrolling reels and didn’t prioritise putting some makeup on. So here we are. Anyway, I’m really excited about this week’s episode. I can’t believe actually that I haven’t recorded this yet, it took a moment to scroll through previous episodes thinking surely, surely, I have spoken to the five most common mistakes I see people making with their group programs. And I haven’t. And it’s really interesting, actually, because recently, I did some market research around what people associate me and my work with. And of course, Evergreen was high up there, those who’ve been in my world for longer still associate me with Facebook ads, which is still a big part of my business as well. But nobody actually ticked the button or clicked the button around group programs, which is such a shame, because I love talking about group programs. And I’ve got a lot to say about them. And I’ve been the brain behind some best selling group programs on the internet. So it’s high time that I shared more of that knowledge with you. Because this is irrelevant whether or not you have a great program. So if you have one, wonderful, this is a really good way to kind of gauge how good your program is, if you’re making any of these common mistakes. If you don’t have one, this is a great way to avoid you falling into that icky precipice of mistakes to make it a smoother journey for you. Because let’s face it, if this is your first kind of dance with a group program, I’m assuming it’s probably because you’re a fully booked one to one and you don’t want to be wasting time on things that are not going to make it move the needle for you. And this is what we do. This is my bread and butter. In fact, the information I’m sharing with you today comes from a lesson inside elevate For Evergreen this is kind of fun and kind of new for me because for the first time ever, I’m actually also sharing some information that you would gain if you were to come and work with me in my world because of course, as I prepare my clients for what it is that they’re about to build, one of the first things I do to avoid any conversations or any Miss endeavours or misadventures for my clients is to highlight the things that they need to be avoiding because the majority of people who come to me, it’s rarely their first rodeo. Most people who come to work with me already have a group program or have already attempted to launch a group program. Some are successfully running group programs, but it’s still not working the way they thought it would. They’re looking at my cushy business life and going my business setup is distinctly I’m cushy. Please come and help. So these five mistakes I see people making should be eye opening for you. So firstly, let’s get straight into it, shall we? I’m going to do a little recap at the end. So don’t worry. But if you do want to take notes, go for it knock yourself out. So number one is making choices. That won’t scale later. Now, I say this, and I want to caveat that
I’m showing this I’m like, oh actually I feel like 2024 the way business looks right now there’s an element of this, which is true.
And it’s very much dependent on you and your business intentions. Ultimately it boils down to what it is that you want to create. So for example, I myself was in a group program last year which is immensely popular, and while they call it a group program, it was barely that it was almost more like a hybrid one to one in that every other week I would have a one to one with the mentor. Every other week I would have a group call with two other people. So there were only three of us and it was a super high investment group program.
I mean, if someone wants to be more potential, so I guess I’d call it a mastermind, because there was a high element of peer to peer support. In fact, there was almost more peer to peer support than anything else. And it was only 10 weeks 10,000 pounds were actually $10,000 for 10 weeks. And it was one of the best investments of last year. And it was very clever because a woman behind it knew that somebody in my business position doesn’t want to spend months floating in a container, short, sharp and potent, was way more the flavour du jour. For me, if it’s relevant for me, it’s relevant for a lot of other business owners. And she saw that in the popularity of this program, and that it was filled out back to back and because it was so small, she was able to run two or three of them concurrently, side by side and have individual containers for each of us. For her that was more than adequate. That meant that she had a kind of low touch high profit business, where she was really getting to work in her zone of genius. So interestingly, as I share these five mistakes with you, one of the things I always do with my clients is like but be honest with you, like when we come back to my cushy framework, which starts with committing to your coach, that’s there for a reason, because some people love nothing more than the idea of a really scalable group program, where you can have hundreds 1000s of people in there. And equally, I support clients who have that kind of setup. And that really lights them up. And I’ve got for some way more introverted, kind of kooky clients, but probably more like myself, because I intentionally keep my group container with no more than 30 people in it at a time. And that’s very intentional. I find my energy wanes a bit too much anything beyond that. And also, because of the nature of what I’m doing, I’m supporting successful business owners to be even more successful. And I know what they need is high touch, they don’t want to be in a group container, following a formula that was never made for them, I want it to be bespoke to them. And it’s very hard to create a bespoke approach for anyone beyond 30. You know, it’s about being really honest with yourself, if you want to make a million pounds in a year, then yes, you need to create a course which has a massive level of passive to it, for it to be able to support a large number of people. So just be honest with yourself about your goals. You know, in my case, last year, I had elevate for evergreen, which is high touch, as is going to be my mastermind when it launches in the next month or two. And both of those I intentionally keep smaller, and we’re about to launch Never have I evergreen, which is to make my work more accessible. So more people can get their amazing offers out there in the world. And they can get access to this knowledge. And to me, but not to the same level that my higher investment programs do. And of course, that makes sense, you pay more for more access and more support. But these programs will still be amazing and move the needle so it’s recognising and for me, it made sense to test all my knowledge in a smaller, more intimate container in the last year, to feel confident that what I’m about to make passive works by itself, it doesn’t need me to get involved. So now this is another really valuable lesson. And I’m totally like overspending and point one here. But you know another really valuable lesson to understand when it comes to business. And this is something I spoke to you yesterday as well on our mastermind kind of call where we were setting up for the year, I highlighted the importance of the fact that you know so many of us see where we want to be in a year’s time, and that can feel really overwhelming. So many of us want everything. And if we don’t even have the slightest bit of it, we assume it’s impossible, when actually the truth of the matter is you just need to put one foot in front of the other. So if that means for example being like, you know what, 30k months, with 30 clients per month paying me 1000 pounds a month in my container is more than adequate to pay my team to pay the ads to create that spaciousness for me to then think about what does my next level look like when I start to turn things more passive? That’s what’s worked for me. Okay, so don’t feel the need. I remember last year almost feeling a sense of shame that I wasn’t obsessed with becoming like a, you know, a seven figure business last year, I was like, you know, I’m still multi six figures is that impressive enough? Am I being hungry enough. But ultimately, I needed to listen to myself, my own situation. And what I felt was within most integrity for the experience, I give my own clients, and to recognise that ultimately, growth is growth, who freakin cares. And more importantly, is who you are every day and the experience you’re having every day. That’s the cushy way of living. So anyway, so number one, is being really intentional. If you want to create a programme that’s going to scale, make sure that you’re creating a syllabus that is going to support people without you needing to be super hands on make sure that there are pre recorded modules, rather than live teaching, and all of these things to ensure that you can actually you know, there’s no point saying I want to have 100 km month if you don’t have the offer infrastructure to support that. I am now confidently making my mark in the sand and saying My goal is to be a seven figure business. And that is because I finally have the offer infrastructure to support that. I didn’t have that a year ago, and I didn’t want it a year ago.
Because like I say, for me, creating something that’s within integrity that gets results was way more important because that’s the whole theme in the online business space right now, right? There’s a lot of people selling stuff, they’re great at selling. But once you get in there, it’s just a wash out. And it’s just another thing for you to regret another expense, that gives you a sense of shame that you’re a failure. I don’t want that for anyone in my world. Okay, so that’s point number one, be intentional about the space that you’re creating, if it needs to be scalable, create a scalable business that doesn’t involve loads of live teaching and loads of live interactions from yourself, if you want it to be high touch because it’s a year of learning and really leaning into what it is your clients need or want. Just be sure that it makes financial sense. Basically, start with your goal and work backwards from there, whatever your financial goal is, work backwards, and be happy with it. Okay, point number two.
Don’t mistake disempowerment for support. What do I mean by that? I mean, if you are bringing your people pleasing tendencies into your group program, it’s going to hurt you. If you mollycoddle your clients, it’s going to hurt you. If you create yourself as some kind of Guru status in your business, it will ultimately I mean, I don’t know if it’s going to hurt you. Because as I say that I recognise there are various people out there who are very successfully lapping it up with their guru status. And a lot of people are being hurt in the process. Ultimately, when we lead with wanting to be within integrity, and supporting clients in a way that is actually really good for them. We want to be supporting clients to feel empowered in their decision making. We want them to know that if they need support, they can swim towards us. And if they don’t show up that’s on them. We are not here to be lifeguards, we’re not here to be throwing out. Safety, you know, like life, life was a code, low life jackets. That is not our job, again, that makes your business so unscalable. If you’re constantly worrying about how’s this person doing today, how’s that person doing today? No, we cannot mother them all. So please be mindful of that when you think about how you communicate with the people in your group program, how you structure your syllabus, how you make regular invitations to remind people if they are getting stuck, if they need anything to reach out to you, because that is the surefire way to avoid getting to a situation where somebody turns around two months later, and says, Oh, I really needed your support, but I had no idea how to reach out to it. This program has been a big waste of my time, okay. So make sure there’s really clear almost like when someone gets on the plane, and you’re like, here are the exits, you know, when you give people a really good onboarding, and make it really clear what they need to do, how they can be supported best. I mean, that’s the very first part of my program, I talk about how will you extract the most gold from this experience, because it’s there to be had, but it’s your job to kind of dig for it, you know, and it will be digging, because anytime you do anything new, it’s so uncomfortable, it’s going to feel like an effort. But it’s the best service to you. Because ultimately, this skill isn’t just a skill that’s valuable in the online business space. And in the coaching space. It’s valuable as a whole, like not enough women in particular, are asking for what they want. So getting comfortable with saying I’m coming in here looking for a reflection, I’m coming in here looking to be celebrated. I’m coming in here looking to understand if this or this is the best route for me to go. Like another thing I really highly encourage my clients to do is like, what are you considering? Tell me the two things you’re considering? And I will help you ascertain which is the correct one, because you want them to leave with those skills, so that they know how to support them best. And I know I’m talking about this within a business context, but it’s exactly the same with live coaching or anything like that. If someone were to say, Do I stay with this partner who’s making me feel like rubbish, to be able to say to them, or what are you considering right now tell me the two routes you’re considering going. And we’ll kind of assess which one sounds like it makes the most sense for you empower them, they’re not spending their money on you to get your expertise. They’re spending their money on you for their own self development and growth or their own business growth or their own health or whatever it is, but it’s them that they’re investing in, they’re not investing in you. So remember that and make sure you create a program that allows for that. Another thing that kind of really ties into that is accountability. Accountability can be quite dangerous. If you feel the need that you have to give your clients accountability, that again, can really hold you back from creating a truly scalable program because again, it’s another way that people are seeing you as responsible for their results of like, oh, I wasn’t kept accountable enough. I didn’t feel like you were backing me enough. I didn’t feel like you were kind of teasing or kind of making me excited enough. That’s on them again, you know, like there’s no way in the world where there’s like just accountability that just lands in your lap. You can create accountability through other things. But again, it’s one that becomes self source. It’s the fact that they have access to the program for a limited amount of time, is the fact that they’ve made a large investment in themselves, which they’ll want to actually see through. If they have a limited amount of time where they can access those group coaching calls where they can ask you things I mean this
Since one of the big reasons actually why I’m not a big fan of lifetime access to programs, is the fact that it can leave people thinking, Oh, I’ve actually got a life situation come up. So I’m going to come back to this later. And again, that’s where we see people who don’t show up, don’t commit, don’t get the results, and suddenly are ghosting payment plans, because they’re not actually going through the program with you. So you know, we need to be really mindful of that. But there are ways to also create accountability through things like milestone calls. So I have milestone calls with my clients, as they hit certain phases through the program, I also encourage my clients to do the same. That way, they are motivated, they want to get those one to one calls with you and get that access to you. So they are more motivated to work their way through the content. So there are things you can do to help it which still leave them in charge, right? Because ultimately, everyone who’s going to come to your program is going to have a slightly different predicament when it comes to what’s going on their family life, what’s going on in their business life, not everyone’s going to be at the same pace, even if they had exactly the same settings because we are all wired differently. So having milestone calls allows them to work at their own pace, and still feel motivated to make progress because they want to get those calls with you. But you know, ultimately you can’t spend all your time trying to make the less committed people do work. And you know, you can lead a horse to water but you can’t make it drink. And honestly, one of the things that can, in a mindset way hold people back is that sense of responsibility for everyone, you cannot be responsible for everyone. It’s just impossible. I’ve done various other podcast episodes where I’ve touched on things like you know, the restaurant analogy, when you go in and you have a really nice meal, and you can have the finest dining and people will all have an entirely different experience because they didn’t like the music or they did like the music or they didn’t like the cutlery, or they did like the cutlery, or they found the service too formal or the service was too informal. Ultimately, you can be given the loveliest things in life and still have an entirely different experience. So this is where we have to kind of step back and recognise there are some triggers that are going to come up for people that are not asked to deal with and they are theirs to deal with alone. This is starting into a long episode. So I’m just seeing where we’re at. Right, I’m going to try and wrap it up. Actually, point number four really ties in, you know, again, it almost comes back to a mindset piece, which is overcompensating for a lack of confidence. And how do we tend to do that in group programs? We tend to do that by packing it full of content, like I know about this. So I should put that in there. I know about this, I should put that in there, too. And you know, what, if they don’t know this, I’m gonna put that in there, too.
Nobody ever, ever, ever signed up to a program because they were like, Oh, my God, it’s got so many modules and lessons, of course, it’s amazing value for money. Again, they’re not signing up, they’re not paying for your expertise. They’re paying for the transformation. And generally speaking, in the same way that you’d hire a plumber, because you’re like, Yeah, I could YouTube how to do this, I could still mess it up.
And it’s gonna take me 10 times as long, you’re hiring somebody, because you then don’t have to go into YouTube, you then don’t have to take 10 times as long doing it, and then still probably do a bad job. You’re hiring somebody to support you with that desire transformation, because they’re going to support you to do it in less time and more effectively. And how would you do it less time, not consuming a million different modules, I had this even my last personal trainer loved it a bit. But one of the things I had when I was going through a content was a whole bunch of information that I was like, just tell me how this is relevant to me, I feel no need to really understand biology on a deeper level, I just want to know how it’s relevant to me and how it’s going to help me move forward. So just be mindful of that you did that studying that learning. Great. People don’t need to know all of that. They just need to know how it’s relevant to them and how it’s going to support them and your wizardry is your ability to teach that to them. Like one of the things I often repeat to people in my world, is that one of the things that’s going to make you the most in demand, online mentor, coach, whatever it is, is your ability to teach in a way that is simple, and digestible, and memorable. And most importantly, of course, effective. Taking the time to be good at those things is going to make all the difference to your bottom line to your clients results to your clients testimonials to them basically becoming your biggest brand advocate because what you’re doing is bringing excellence into an industry where there is very little Okay, so taking the time to care about these things is going to make a huge difference. And finally, my other watch out is a very practical one, which is Be mindful if you have live elements to your mastermind or your group program, those can be an objection. If someone lives on the other side of the world and they can’t attend, that may be their reason to not sign up. So if you are going to do things like that, only do it because you’re in a position that you can have it live streamed and do all the fancy stuff alongside it. If you’re brand new to all this stuff, just make it really easy for yourself. Instead offer a discount to those who are already in your world to come along to your in person events. But don’t make it that you know it’s part of your program because that could be the reason why someone’s like, oh, you know, but a lot of the value seems to be in your in person event and I can’t actually attend that. So can you either give me a discount
I don’t want to come that’s not a good energy to start working with someone on.
So there we have it, I seem to have wrapped nearly all of that into 20 minutes, which I’m very proud of 2024 energy, right? Okay, so let’s just run through these five mistakes to avoid one more time. So one is, think about what your financial goal is, I initially called this making choices that went scale later. And like I said, actually, when I address what point number one is, point number one is really being clear on what your financial goals are being clear on where you’re at, and creating this program and what you need to create the best program and like I said, for me last year, that was no more than 30 people in a particular type of container and creating new content for them to really help them get their very best results. For me to now feel confident about creating my passive extension to that offer, okay, so don’t just do what everyone else is doing, because that makes sense to them do what makes sense to you. But most importantly, when you have a financial target, make sure that your office suite aligns with that financial target, otherwise, it will not be doable. So that’s point number one. Point number two is looking at my notes, mistaking disempowerment for support, so please do not mistake disempowerment for support, do not mollycoddle your clients do not feel the need to look after them and kind of be checking in on them all the time. That is not the vibe. Mistake. Number three is providing accountability. I really don’t like the word accountability. You know, it’s really important that you support them to recognise that they need to make themselves accountable. And like I say, you’re creating that accountability through having a limited time that they have access to your group coaching calls, limited access to you, and all of those things. And obviously, including milestone calls, all of those things will increase their motivation to work through the content, and obviously get the transformation that you want for them. Finally, do not overpack your program and loads and loads and loads of content thinking that’s creating loads and loads and loads of value. No, that’s just taking up loads and loads and loads of their time. And they will always say the time is more valuable than the knowledge that you’re packing into those lessons. So think about what needle moving things you can give them that helped them get closer to their desired transformation. And finally, on a really practical level, be mindful of live events and how they bring extra value a lot of the time, they can end up being an objection. So think about unless they are integral. You know, I’ve worked with a client who trains doulas that was a non negotiable that that needed to be a part of her business model. And people were happy to travel for that. So it’s another guess final caveat to all these tips is, your business is your business, the closer you can be to your business, the better you can identify which of these tips are relevant to you, and which of them aren’t. Because ultimately, if we’re all the same life, it’d be really effing boring. But I suspect among all the things I’ve just shared, there should be at least one nugget there that has helped you go.
Should probably be reviewing that. So maybe it may be as simple as going back to a group program and auditing it to see where there is content that people perhaps, you know, look at your data, look at how much people have been going through certain lessons, if there’s one that people are dropping off really fast from, maybe that’s an invitation to ditch it, or maybe that’s an invitation to improve it. Or maybe that’s an invitation to recognise Oh, okay, they’re not doing this. And this is regularly happening for them, what do we need to do instead? So take all this information and think about how it applies to your group program, and how you can make it better because group programs really are a lifesaver for anyone who has a booked out one to one service provider who is looking for a lean, scalable business. I’m such a huge advocate of them. And most importantly, as a client, as somebody experiencing a group program. They’re also just transformational for your clients. Being in community with other people receiving that communal support and wisdom is just phenomenal. And they can have that hybrid one to one effect, should you wish for them to have that hybrid one to one effect. In fact, listen to the last episode, if you want to hear more about what that can look like. Okay, so that is it from me, talking of one to one I’m really passionate about helping as many one to one service providers having great programs in 2024. So next week’s episode is going to be about that icky sticky transition between what it is to be a booked out one to one service provider to launching your group program and what is the safest, most efficient way to do that in a way that still delivers? What are these results kind of clients you know, like, I want you to still be able to create incredible results for your clients and have a great program so that you get to catch yourself a break. You get to have everything a lot of people don’t believe this and in next week’s episode, I’m going to just be like blowing off any mess you have around why that isn’t possible for you because it totally is and 2024 is your year to launch your group program if you haven’t already. So there we have it, my lovelies. That’s what’s coming next week. I hope you enjoyed this week’s episode. If you found it helpful, please do share it with more entrepreneurs I would love for this episode. And this podcast will be reaching as many business owners ears as possible because I want this cushy revolution to really gain some serious momentum and 2024 hence all the new mediums that I will be sharing it onto so there we have it hope this was helpful I shall see you all very very soon.
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