In This Episode:
- How a significant life change for What Works founder Tara McMullin turned into an idea and then several iterations of offers
- The process Tara used to turn The Commitment Blueprint process into a free webinar, then a paid template, and finally a live paid program
- How a similar process is helping Tara and the What Works team continue to evolve how The What Works Network is structured
- And why asking “What’s next?” doesn’t have to mean creating a brand-new offer but, instead, iterating on what you’re already selling
This is a special bonus episode of What Works–the show that takes you behind the scenes of how small business owners take decisive action to build a stronger business.
This is the first episode in a three-part series taking a closer look at what’s worked for me as I’ve developed a new ways to create and deliver value over the years, both here at What Works and now at YellowHouse.Media.
Today I’m sharing how our latest What Works offer, a live program called The Commitment Blueprint came to be—tracing it from its humble beginnings as the seed of a major life and business shift for me to a successful webinar, to a paid template, and finally to the live program version.
Now I’m going to be breaking it down iteration by iteration, from idea to offer and really to the next offer from there and the next offer after that.
So let’s start at the beginning—the idea.
Like so many offers out there, the idea for The Commitment Blueprint really came as a result of solving my own problem.
Now I had always been a planner and a goal setter, but I started to notice that my planning and goal setting was maybe causing me more problems than they were solving. I started to get really caught up in other people’s goals and trying to prove myself based on reaching them. And I realized that I needed to make a change or I was going to be constantly chasing after other people’s ideas of what I should be achieving or accomplishing instead of building the life and business that I really wanted.
So at the beginning, little by little, I started to focus more on process. In other words, I was thinking about. What could I commit to doing consistently to change my current experience and my future outcomes. Now, this led to all sorts of personal growth for me, I got back to being an athlete again after 20 years, I prioritized execution and systems in my work for like the first time ever. I learned to see how other people were functioning in the world and that helped me temper my righteous indignation, at least most of the time.
This whole process was just the experience of major personal growth. And I realized looking back over that time, especially as people started to ask me more and more, “Hey, Tara, something’s different with you. What did you change? What happened here? What, what are you doing?” I realized that there was method to the madness.
I had made certain commitments to myself. And I developed a process for upholding those commitments. And then from there I was able to make adjustments over time.
So once I realized that there was a method to the madness, I realized that I could share it with other people. And that led to the very first offer. In other words, the very first way that I could create value for other people using this same system.
Turning the method into a free webinar
So from there, I started to get really intentional about how I’d made those changes; what all was different for me, what the process really looked like. And I took that noticing, that awareness, the method, essentially that I had developed by accident, and I put it into an outline and then into a slide deck, which might seem like a really strange next to step but after years of teaching on CreativeLive, I have found that my brain often now processes things like this in terms of slide decks–that is hundreds, if not thousands of slides built over the years. So, you know, that might not work for you, but it’s definitely what works for me.
I took that outline and I took that slide deck and taught it as a free webinar last November. We called it The Commitment Blueprint, and it was a huge hit. People loved it. Lots of people turned out for it. We got tons of positive feedback on it and I felt great about it. So we turned around and we taught it again in December.
I even actually taught a live workshop version of it locally–so in person with people back when you could do those sorts of things. From there after those three sort of, uh, you know, right in a row, quick succession versions of teaching this class, I started to notice how many people were asking, “What’s next?” you know, just like we covered in that last episode that I did with Alisha Robertson from The LOE Collective.
That got me thinking, all right, what else can I do with this content? What else can I do with this idea? How can I help people take those next steps?
Turning the webinar into an on-demand tool
And that’s what started to lead to the second offer, the second iteration of The Commitment Blueprint. Now, the original Commitment Blueprint webinar only covered setting your commitments for the year. You can kind of think of those commitments like themes for how you’ll live, work and grow over the next 12 months.
Your commitments inform the goals you set, the projects you take on and the changes you’re trying to make in your life, or even in your business. So now that people had set their commitments, they wanted to know what the next steps were. That was really what they were asking when asked, “What’s next?” They wanted to know how to execute on this.
Now while all of this was happening while all of this Commitment Blueprint stuff was going on, I had been simultaneously sharing the planning and task management system that I had developed in Notion for myself with our mastermind members. They also loved this system, they loved the idea of building out their workload and their plans in a different way. And many of them had adopted that system for themselves. And that’s when I realized that this planning and task management system was really the What’s Next for The Commitment Blueprint. I could sell the system as a premium Notion template.
I could combine the content and the ideas from The Commitment Blueprint with this system to create something that was more fully functional for planning out the next year of your life and work. So we called it The Leadership Dashboard. I reworked The Commitment Blueprint content into a mini course that could live inside the template.
And I added a bunch of other content, some video, some written, and some worksheets to explain how to use it.
We launched the leadership dashboard this March. And again, it was a huge hit and I really felt like, man, we are on to something here.
Turning the on-demand tool into a live learning experience
But I was not done yet. There was yet another iteration that needed to be built. And that third offer, that third iteration, was a live program. Now, even though I knew that the Notion template was a big hit, I also knew there were challenges. After all, if people didn’t dive in and do the work of setting their commitments, creating a plan for the year, building out projects and tracking their work, it was actually pretty useless. Just another sort of shiny object living on their computers.
Now I’m not saying that it’s my responsibility to make people do the work when they buy a product that requires, well, work. But I do like to think about how to make it easier to get that work done so that the product can be as effective as possible.
After all, if people aren’t using the product, it doesn’t really matter if they’re buying it, because they’re not going to tell other people, they’re not going to, uh, you know, be interested in what else we have to offer. They’re just going to have bought this thing again, that just sits on their computer.
So even with the success of The Leadership Dashboard, again, I started to ask myself, “What’s next?”
Now this, this what’s next was driven a lot more from my own thinking and my own experiences as opposed to an outward or an external What’s Next. But the idea was similar.
As I started to think about what’s next, I realized that I could deliver the same system, but as a live program. It would be a chance to go through all the steps in the process over a one week period. So you could either make the best use of the dashboard or transfer the ideas to your own system. It was designed with the idea that you could execute as you go.
So that instead of just learning something and then having to do the work later, you’d actually work the process with me live. So I went back into the content I created for The Leadership Dashboard, fleshed it out for a live program and transferred it into a whole new slide deck.
First I shared the live program with our What Works Network members and anyone who had purchased The Leadership Dashboard. We had a phenomenal turnout, which was the first good sign. And then when the program wrapped up, people enthusiastically shared how helpful and grounding it was.
So then I knew I could finally offer the new program to the public. Now we just wrapped it up a couple of weeks ago. And again, the new iteration was a success. We plan to offer it again in October. And again, in December as business owners are looking to plan for 2021. I’m also considering updating The Leadership Dashboard so we can sell that template with the more robust training of the live program, but in an on-demand format.
Create new value by going deeper instead of building from scratch
I think the takeaway here is that answering the question, “what’s next?” doesn’t always have to lead to a brand new offer. It could be a further development of something that’s already working–a new way to offer it, a few more steps in the journey, or a deeper exploration of the work that’s already got people excited.
Now, the same thing is actually currently happening with our core offer, The What Works Network. Right now, we’re executing the first month of a revamped structure and approach to the community that we’ve been building in a few different iterations for over seven years now. We took a look at all the ways people were using the community and all the ways they weren’t.
We took a really close look at all the people who had asked us “what’s next” with The Network over the years. Sometimes people asked because they loved what they were accomplishing with The Network and others asked because they didn’t find it all that useful. We even took inspiration from The Commitment Blueprint and how members and nonmembers alike really took to that process and used it to solve some pretty big challenges.
And then we got to building what’s next for The What Works Network.
Now, obviously we are sticking with the community model. We believe so strongly in the power of people connecting together, of working together, and of talking through both the challenges and the opportunities of building businesses together.
We are evolving not just from a community of connection but into a community of practice. We are not just a community of business owners. We’re actually a community of people who are practicing the art of building stronger businesses. So we started to look at ways we could better support people in that practice. where we landed was in turning each month into a focus on taking action in a specific area of your business, which matches how we work here on the podcast. This month, we’re committing to creating value and taking action on developing our offers.
From there, we looked at how to structure the rituals and gatherings of each month to support taking decisive action on your business. Now we’re starting the month by sharing our monthly commitment, equipping our members with a planning kit they can use to fit their action into existing plans. We’re offering events like hot seat coaching, flash masterminds, and weekly huddles to support the process of taking action.
And we’re wrapping up each month with a debrief on what worked and what didn’t. It’s still member-driven, it’s still highly collaborative, it’s still non-dogmatic and it’s also structured and action-oriented. We are really, really excited about how we’re answering, “What’s next?” with The What Works Network and how we’re going to be able to support members in new ways moving forward.
If you’re interested in joining us, be sure to go to request your invitation, because we’ll be opening the doors to new members in the last week of this month.
In the next episode of the special bonus series, I’m going to share how Sean and I constructed the full-service podcast production service package we offer at YellowHouse.Media. And why we chose that over an a la carte model.
Til next time, keep doing what works.
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