EP 156: Teaching Live Courses For Maximum Results with Yes and Yes’s Sarah Von Bargen

The Nitty Gritty

  • Why Sarah decided to offer her online course Bank Boost in a live setting using weekly emails and live Q and A sessions
  • The values and psychology behind her product pricing and how she markets the live courses in a low-key way without webinars
  • Why she goes offline for a couple days at a time to work on content — and how that frees up the rest of her time to work with clients and so much more
  • How she plans to market her live courses in the future
  • What Sarah’s different streams of income look like

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Sarah Von Bargen writes and teaches about “the space where money and happiness meet.” In this episode of What Works, Sarah walks us through her decision-making process to transform one of her popular eBooks into an online course and everything else that goes into promoting and running it.

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Why take things live?

“It’s a values-based thing. It doesn’t feel good to me to take hundreds of dollars from someone and then they don’t use the thing that I sold them. I believe in the work that I do, I believe in my course, and I know that if they did the course, it would be life-changing. But if I can make some tweaks on my end, and help them get to the place that they want to go, why wouldn’t I?” — Sarah Von Bargen

Why did Bank Boost go from an eBook to an online class? Well, Sarah wanted to create an opportunity for her audience to not only benefit from the information — but to work through it along with a community of like-minded people going through the same thing.

While small business owners might shy away from turning a DIY experience, like working through an eBook, into a live curated one for their customers or clients, Sarah says that it’s not that much extra work. When the course is running live, Sarah spends about 20 minutes engaging and liking posts while her assistant answers questions.

When she and her assistant aren’t chiming in, the community members step up to the plate every time. “The community that I’ve worked really hard to create is incredibly supportive,” says Sarah. “If somebody posts something in the Facebook group asking a question, 9 times out of 10, I don’t even need to be the one to weigh in and answer it because everybody is so excited to share their insights and advice.”

Marketing live online courses

“Because of the price point and because it’s such an easy yes, I do not do any webinars. I know when I’m going launch and the 2-3 weeks leading up to it I write blog posts that touch on the topic of finances. Then I make sure to include at the top that Bank Boost is opening again and to get on the wait list.” — Sarah Von Bargen

The Bank Boost online course costs $35. Yep, that’s it. As Sarah declares on the sales page: “That’s less than most impulse purchases at Target. I didn’t want you to go into debt in order to learn how to save money!” Awesome.

Because the price is a no-brainer, Sarah skips the webinars. Instead, she focuses on sharing in Instagram Stories, in her free Facebook group, and in her weekly Sunday link round-up.  She also sends emails to her list — and particularly any subscriber who joined by way of a finance opt-in.

To promote the course, she also updates her website banners and popups to promote it and her Facebook header. Then, once the course is open, she sents out an email to the waitlist.

Listen to this episode to hear more from Sarah Von Bargen on how to promote an online course, pricing your products, and how to make time for content writing.

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EP 299: How To Design Your Own Sales System

EP 299: How To Design Your Own Sales System

This week, I’ve got 4 more stories to share with you from small business owners who have intentionally done things their own way when it comes to sales and selling. They’ve found what truly works for them–even if it bucks the prevailing wisdom or would make a bro marketing expert role his or her eyes.

These stories come from business coach Ashley Gartland, marketing expert Amy Lippmann, designer Mel Richards, and work reinvention coach Lydia Lee.

Listen for how they incorporated these same considerations into finding their own unique sales systems. They designed their systems with personal values, strong relationships, reduced anxiety, and agency in mind.

EP 298: Creating A Less Harmful Sales System with Wanderwell Founder Kate Strathmann

EP 298: Creating A Less Harmful Sales System with Wanderwell Founder Kate Strathmann

This show is called What Works for a reason.

Sometimes it’s a declaration: this is what worked for this small business. And often, it’s a question, “What works?”

Today’s episode is very much a question, many questions, really:

What works when it comes to selling when you want to avoid manipulative or exploitative practices?

What works when your values conflict with many of the best practices of selling online but you still want people to buy your stuff?

What works when it comes to sales in a business that is actively anti-racist and anti-capitalist?

And even more bluntly: Can you even sell things without causing harm or perpetuating harmful systems?

My friend Kate Strathmann is the founder of Wanderwell, a bookkeeping and consulting firm that grows thriving businesses while investigating new models for being in business.

Recently, Kate took a bit of a detour from how she’s used to building her business, which is 90% referral based and fueled by deep relationship- and community-building. She decided to offer a small group program called the Equitable Business Incubator as a way of exploring anti-capitalist business practices and how they apply to the small businesses we’re building.

To fill the program, Kate need to sell differently.

Which led her to asking the question: Can you even sell things as a anti-capitalist?

While that might not be your specific question, I have a feeling that you too have wondering how you can effectively sell your offers without causing harm, perpetuating harmful systems, or damaging relationships. And that’s why I knew Kate and I needed to explore this topic on the show.

This is a conversation about what a kinder, less harmful sales process could look like—and it probably contains more questions than answers. But I’m confident those questions can help you find the answers that are right for you and the sales system that you want to build to make your business stronger.

We start out by defining what we’re really talking about when we talk about capitalism and anti-capitalism. Then, Kate shares how the Equitable Business Incubator came to be and how she ended up selling it. And then we dig into what makes many of the sales formulas and best practices being taught today problematic—and how to think differently to create your own alternative practices.

Now, let’s take a look at what works for creating less harmful sales systems!

EP 297: Selling A New Program With Proof To Product Founder Katie Hunt

EP 297: Selling A New Program With Proof To Product Founder Katie Hunt

Today’s guest is Katie Hunt—who is a member of the former group and serves the latter group.

Katie is the founder of Proof To Product, which helps creative entrepreneurs run and grow thriving product-based businesses. She works with designers, illustrators, and artists to help them develop in-demand product lines and get them sold in stores all over the world.

Not long after the pandemic threw her business and the industry she serves for a major loop, Katie and her team launched Proof To Product Labs to provide a completely digital, ongoing support opportunity for business owners when they needed it most.

And that launch was a smash.

Katie and I get into all of the nuts and bolts of how she adjusted the offer to meet the moment and how she warmed up her audience before the campaign, as well as the exact mix of emails, podcast ads, and social media content she used to sell the offer when it went live. We also talk about how she sees the sales system evolving in the future and how the offer has been received now that people are using it!

What Works offers in-depth, well-researched content that strips away the hype of the 21st-century economy. Whether you love the podcast, the articles, or the Instagram content, we’d love your support