I invite you to join my on a journey where I’ll either fall flat on my face, or soar above the clouds. This is my year of Risk Taking. Every year I have a “theme” for what I’ll do or be that year. This year’s theme is taking risks; last year’s theme was keeping focus.
I might as well start off taking risks early, eh? So here goes:
Business Risks #1 and #2.
Risk #1: I’ve been thinking for a long time about offering mini-classes, just 60 or 90 minutes on a very narrow topic, for a very inexpensive price. In a world where everyone is offering 90-day training programs or 12-month training programs, I’m going against the flow. And I like it! (And it scares the you-know-what out of me.) I have no idea if this will succeed or flop, but if I don’t try it, how will I know? So I’m grabbing my First Risk by the horns…I’ve taken a mini-topic (action planning) and created a 90-minute class around it. Just diving in.
Risk #2: I’ve been wondering a lot about how much lead time people really need and want between the time you start to market a class, and the actual start date of the class. Do people need four weeks to think about it? Six weeks? One day? Typically I’ve begun to announce a class about four weeks before the start date, and that’s worked fairly well. But I want to experiment with a much shorter time period: one week. So my Second Risk is to start marketing the action planning class tomorrow, just 7 days away from the start date of January 14. Sink or swim. What’s the worst that could happen?
(Look for my announcement about the One Action Now class tomorrow, or visit www.OneActionNow.com to check it out.)
What about you? What would be a risky thing for you to do this year, this month, that scares you a little, but also excites you and challenges you to grow and experiment? How do you figure out whether it’s a risk worth taking? How will you feel if you don’t take the risk?
For me, risk-taking is not a natural activity. I’m more cautious, a planner, a person who likes to have her ducks in a row. But how can I explain the exhilaration, the FREEDOM I feel, in taking these two risks today??? Yeeeehaaaaw! 🙂
P.S. I’ll let you know how these two risks pan out and share with you my stories of other risks I’ll take in 2010. Stay tuned…and fasten your seatbelt!
I love the theme of the year idea. I’ve been playing with one-word themes for me this year, and have settled on SHAPE. It reminds me of this quote, which speaks to me deeply at this time in my life:
“As an irrigator guides water to the fields, as an archer aims an arrow, as a carpenter carves wood, the wise shape their lives.”
– The Buddha
I’m ready to be a little less go-with-the-flow and a little more take-charge! My theme word also fits my weight-loss goal 😉
Personally, I think you are right on target with one-session classes and a shorter sign up. As a consultant, I have an unpredictable work flow, and think long and hard before committing to anything ongoing. But one class in the near future I can fit in much better. (And it’s even better if you give me an mp3 of the class afterwards so I can listen again in the car if I want, or if I do have to miss it for some reason.)
All the best for your risk-taking success in 2010.
Congratulations on choosing risk-taking as your theme for the new year. It will be a fun year for you, experimenting and testing the water. I agree that there is no real way of finding out if you don’t take the risk and just do it. If you fail on a project, there is still a reward at the end — valuable lessons learned. But what if it’s the other way around? Best of luck to you!!!
You go, girl! Experiment! Be ok whatever happens!
(although, ahem, if you have affiliates, ahem, you might need to let them know a little more than 7 days in advance if having them market for you is part of the plan!)
Anne, I like your theme! SHAPE is a great word. So much better than “structure,” which may seem confining. 🙂
I hear you, Terri, about letting the affilates know in advance when something’s coming up. The One Action Now class isn’t a one-time class, so I’ll experiment with the marketing lead time on the January class, and see what results I get. Though I don’t know for certain (who does? :)), I’m guessing that 90-minute classes will have a one- or two-week marketing lead time, while longer classes (5-weeks, or longer) will have a month or two lead time on marketing.
I feel like turning marketing on it’s ear, playing with the lead times, the copywriting, the offer…just about everything. The funny thing about risk-taking is that it’s always *possible* that I’ve been doing it 100% correctly all along. But I can never know unless I take the risk, run the tests, and see the results. Of course, I’m not going to take death-defying risks, but well-thought-out risks seem smart.
Karyn, I really like your idea of risk-taking, it can be scary at first, but the rewards can be tremendous. The rewards being not just making money, but doing something different or “out of the box”. It energizes me when I make change in a process, add a new program or service, or create another e-book to market… and getting excited about your business is very important… after you establish enthusiasm and passion the money will follow.
Your idea on short one-time sessions is good, I think you will find great success with it.
I wish you a wonderful 2010.
I agree, Candace, that’s a good phrase: it energizes me.
Status report: withing the first three hours after I sent out the email announcing the class, I had 10 students sign up! And that’s with only 10% of my entire mailing list having even opened the email yet. Many will open it tomorrow morning, so I expect to see this number climb.
Personally, I like the idea of one-session, single-topic classes. That way, you can pick and choose which topics are right for you, and what fits into your calendar. As a teacher *and* as a student, this works for me. I wish more of the people I take classes from as a student offered this approach.
(It kind of reminds me of the old-fashioned candy stores, where penny candy was indivdually wrappedin glass jars. You could buy one of each of your favorites!)
My theme last year was ‘Bridge’. It was a year of change. This year my theme is ‘Implementation’. I always follow my instincts, which usually means I run against the crowd. LOL That can be scary, but rewarding. I love your idea about the short classes. I think you’ll find it successful. 🙂
Beth and Cindy,
I’m so glad you like the idea of these 90-minute classes. I don’t know one person in all of my acquaintances who isn’t time-constrained. We’re all so busy! Some topics lend themselves to a simple class (others really do require a series as you need to learn Step 1 before Step 2, etc.).
I’m really jazzed about these simplified classes! They challenge me to:
1. Find the topics people want most…this means LISTENING to what people are saying all around me.
2. Simplify the topic (without watering it down) so that it’s easy to teach and to learn.
3. Find plenty of add-on resources to suggest like books, websites, audios — for those who want to go further with the topic after the first 90 minutes.
About risk-taking: agreed, it’s all about following your instincts, and not letting the nay-sayers get you down. Long live peanut butter and jelly sandwiches!
From my perspective as a potential customer, both time and prices are strong considerations for me. The new classes you plan to offer will help with both of those. I think you will find a very hungry market of receptive people for your new offering.
I also think that you will benefit from this more than just financially. Your energy and passion for what you have designed yourself will be felt by your customers.
We live in a very different world than just a couple years ago. Many people’s attention spans have shortened considerably. Also, many have so many commitments that fitting a longer class in is just not realistic. I think that both your longer courses as well as the new shorter ones will have people wanting them.
Wise risk-taking makes for a far more fulfilling and exciting life. Regrets are usually based on both missed opportunities and not taking chances by going out of our comfort zones. Everything in this world today was created by someone’s first thinking of an idea and then taking a risk and following through with action to achieve that dream. Think how far the human race has come since our cave days. I for one am grateful for those risk-takers who invented all the electronics we enjoy, delicious recipes, clothing, electricity, indoor plumbing,and so much more. (In my head I just had a scenario play through of the person who invented the peanut butter and jelly sandwich. I could hear the person with whoever it was saying “Are you crazy? What kind of weird combination is that?” and the other person replying ” If you don’t try one, that’s your loss.
This is exquisite!”