Last week I bought a new house! It’s absolutely amazing… Sylvia and I can’t wait to move in to our new home in just a few weeks. Over the last couple of years the Sydney property market has been going bananas and we were never really thinking about buying a new home because of the crazy prices… but we decided to start looking 4 weeks ago and what do ya know, we bought one!
Aside from that, I’ve been super-busy the last 6 weeks working on my Gradrecruit business. Gradrecruit helps connect university graduates with employers. What has made it extremely busy is that March and April are peak seasons for graduate recruitment.
Last year during graduate recruitment season I spent my time focused on prospecting employers and selling annual memberships to the site. This year, however, I decided to focus more of my attention on supporting graduates.
Our mission at The Start of Happiness is to make a difference and an income doing what we love… and this is exactly what I set out to do… to make a difference in the lives of graduates and to make an income in an area that I am very passionate about.
I believe there is a huge gap in the market, particularly here in Australia, for helping graduates find employment. Australia is currently facing rising unemployment and graduate unemployment is at a 40-year high… so I really wanted to do something about this.
Of course, I can’t single-handedly decrease our unemployment rate by employing hundreds of grads to work for me (although that would be really helpful!). Instead, I decided to support graduates through the recruitment process to help them stand out and get hired.
So, with graduate recruitment taking place in March and April, I had the month of February to plan, create and sell a product that would support graduates stand out and get hired.
Planning the Product
The first thing I needed to do was plan the product that I wanted to create. With only 4 weeks until I wanted to launch the product, I decided to give myself a maximum of 1 week maximum to plan it out.
The planning phase included things such as:
- Community feedback
- Course outcomes
- Course structure
- Website layout
- Marketing strategy
Firstly, I wanted to test whether the idea was viable. Before spending 4 weeks putting time and effort into the creation of the product I needed to know whether it would actually sell. To do this I did two things:
- I spoke personally with university students and recent graduates and whether they would like or would have liked a program like this… everyone said yes!
- I emailed my list at the time of 3,000 students and graduates a link to register their interest in an upcoming course to help them succeed during the recruitment process.
I had over 100 people register their interest for the course so that gave me the green light to start making things happen!
Once I gave myself the green light I needed to get clear on what exactly the outcomes of the course would be. This is really about getting clear on the niche I wanted to serve.
A key thing here is that I needed to get clear on how broad or narrow I wanted the course to be. A broad course would be one that focuses on a range of different topic areas, such as: searching for a job, resume writing, interviewing skills all the way to onboarding. A broad course could also include a range of disciplines and industries including corporate functions such as marketing, IT or finance all the way through to specialised industries such as education and healthcare.
A narrow course would focus on less topics or a single topic such as resume writing or for fewer industries or disciplines, such as for those graduates entering into a finance role only.
In the end I decided to focus on the application process (see below in Course Structure) for graduates looking to get onto a graduate program in the corporate world.
The structure of the course is so important. It needs to make logical sense and progression should flow naturally.
For this particular course it was made very easy for me because I just mirrored the standard graduate application process which is:
- Online application (including resume and cover letter)
- Telephone / video interview
- Psychometric assessments
- Assessment centres
- Face-to-face interviewing
Within each of these different sections I decided to have sub-sections such as examples, worksheets and checklists.
Once I had the structure outlined I needed to get clear on timeframes for completing it all.
This was really as simple as writing a to-do list and putting a time against it. I like to do everything in excel spreadsheets… some people say I have my whole life in excel spreadsheets!
This section really just was a more detailed version of the list above and mapping out the exact tasks that I had to undertake to ensure the product was complete. It included detailed activities such as:
- Finalise product name
- Purchase domain name
- Create website framework
- Write content for module 1
- Write content for module 2 (etc)
- Record videos for modules 1, 2 and 3 (etc)
- Create worksheet 1
- Create worksheet 2 (etc)
- Create logo
- Write sales page
- Integrate & test shopping cart
- Write & schedule email sequence
… you get the idea!
The key thing is to make it detailed enough so you have a clear understanding of what you need to achieve without making it too detailed that you get overwhelmed with everything.
When I create a website the first thing I do is build the layout online. All I do for this is create all the pages that I want (leaving them blank) and simply structure the navigation and sidebars the way that makes the most sense for the user and is the most user-friendly.
For simplicity and ease of use for the customer, the website layout should mirror the course structure as closely as possible. For example, below you can see the layout I used for Stand Out & Get Hired which mirrors the course structure outlined above.
Once I have the layout complete then (and ONLY THEN) do I start creating the content.
For me, this just gives me a clear visual of how I want the final website/product to look like.
The marketing strategy was something that I was thinking about throughout the whole time I was creating the product.
There’s so many different ways to market a product.
- Should I email my list? If so, how often and with what content?
- Should I write a blog post about it?
- Should I write articles on other websites about it?
- Should I reach out to other website owners to become affiliates for the product?
- Should I use Facebook advertising?
- Should I use Google advertising?
- Should I have banners up on my website?
In the end I decided to go with a simplistic approach. I didn’t have the time to write blog articles and I didn’t want the hassle of setting up an affiliate program and the costs associated with it. Perhaps that’s something I can do in the future but for this first time launch I decided to just provide it to those that were already on my list.
I created an email campaign that provided great value to graduates including giving them a couple of free tools from the course itself.
I also decided to go with the open/close approach to launching a product. That is, I limited availability to access the program at a reduced amount to only 4 days. This creates a sense of urgency. Whether I needed to do this or not I’m not sure (as being graduate recruitment season the demand for the product at that point in time would already be high), however, I like this approach because it makes the email campaign very simple and it’s easy to manage on the backend.
I did spend $10 a day on Facebook advertising to grow my Gradrecruit email list (who I’d be marketing the product to) and I did this for the first 30 days. However the return on investment definitely was not there. I decided to switch to using Google Ads to see if that had any better ROI… again, it was providing results, but not enough to warrant the continued investment.
So I pulled the plug on all advertising after spending about $350 on it and my daily subscriber numbers remained unchanged… well actually, they increased as day by day more and more graduates were searching for my content and naturally finding it through the search engines.
Unfortunately, my target market for this product doesn’t have much money 🙂
We all know that graduates are not high-income earners and that they are much more likely to be more frugal with their spending! However, considering this product will most certainly help them earn a high-paying job straight out of university I didn’t want to make it too cheap… plus I needed to get a return on my time investment!
I knew that a price over $70 would be a lot for a graduate to spend on an information product. I also asked around to see what people would be willing to spend and most people said between $20 and $50.
So I had a few price tiers.
Firstly, I decided to price the product at $47 for those that registered their interest initially. I gave them early-bird access. This was great because it allowed me to also test the sales process before emailing my broader email list… which actually SAVED me because the process was indeed messed-up!
Secondly, I decided to offer the product at $57 for 4 days to my broader email list to encourage them to sign-up and get the value at the moment they read the email.
Thirdly, the ongoing price would be $67.
Opening the Doors
So, after 4 weeks of creating the content I was ready to go!
I had the sales page up and running (which you can check out here). I had my email sequence ready to go and I was pumped!
Week 5 of my 6-week plan was dedicated to launching to my inside-list to give them, as promised, the discounted rate. It also allowed me to test my sales process.
I sent my first email to those that registered initially and I had my first sale literally in the first few minutes… $47 just like that!
After my initial offer to the inside list that received the discount I had made a total of around $800. This was a great start.
Then I entered the final week of my 6-week plan. This week was dedicated to launching it to my wider email list. Again, I used the same emails (but changed the price to $57) and sent the first one out. Similarly, the first sale came within the first few minutes.
At the end of the 2 week campaign I had earned $4,220.
Below is a snapshot of some of the sales at the end of the 2 weeks.
But the best part about it is that over 80 graduates had invested in themselves and now have access to quality training and insights that will definitely give them the advantage during the recruitment process. This is what it’s all about! Making a difference in the lives of others. The income is just a result… but it enables me to continue to do provide value and enhance it over time.
A key thing to note is that I wasn’t working on this full-time throughout the 4 weeks I was creating the product. This was just an additional project I had going on the side.
On average, I would have spent about 2 hours per day creating and launching the course.
Over the 6 weeks this was roughly 84 hours invested into the process… this means that I ultimately made a return of approximately $50 per hour which I’m super-happy about!
It’s sometimes hard to keep yourself motivated when you are unsure of what the outcome is going to be and whether the investment would be worth it… but in this case it definitely was.
The great thing about online business and creating information products is that you only have to develop them once! Now that I have the course created, I can sell it year after year after year. If you could add an extra $4,000 to your income every year for putting in 1 months work upfront, would you do it?
The other great thing is I only launched this product in Australia. I can now replicate it and sell it in the UK, the USA or other markets that have a similar recruitment process for graduates.
Another potential for future earnings is to setup affiliate partners. There’s a number of websites around the world targeting graduates and university students and they could be good partners to promote the course.
Also, we’re only halfway through graduate recruitment season here in Australia… so I have another months’ worth of sales to come in which also helps me grow my business.
Over to You!
So there you have it! That’s how I went from idea to $4,000 in 6 weeks. I hope the above gave you an insight into how I’m making a difference and an income doing what I love.
This is exactly what I hope to help you achieve too.
Are you thinking about starting an online business?
Have you created an information product before?
What have you tried that worked or didn’t work?
Please, share your comments below!
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P.P.S. If you want me to create more articles like this one that go more behind the scenes into my business, please let me know… I’d love to hear your feedback!
P.P.P.S. If you want to learn how to make your first $1,000 online from packaging your knowledge and advice, then join the insiders list for my upcoming course.
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