Scary Things I’ve Done That Could Have Killed My Business (& Some I’m Gonna Do)

Today’s a Sunday. That means I spent >90 minutes on Campfire with my 30×500 students, answering questions, talking about biz and shootin’ the shit.

Today, I wanted to get my students’ opinions on some changes I’m making for the next 30×500. I’m always trying to increase the number of students who stick with it all the way through to shipping.

Here are some of the ideas I presented:

  • an application process
  • distributing 100% of the materials a month early to people who attend
  • major changes in the software I use to run the class (tossing out a lot of the functionality, turning the rest on its head)
  • a significantly higher price, which may require a payment plan

David Richards, a member of the current 30×500, weighed in on that last one:

Something in my gut says a payment plan might be a headache while dealing with student retention. First payment of $xxxx, sucking air after some Safari work, next payment’s due… naw, I’ll just bail.

I agreed with him. It’s certainly a possibility. There are parts of the class which require a lot of personal investment in time & energy to complete, and who knows?

But, I said,

…one thing I really worry about is NOT doing things I should do, out of fear.

The fact is, each one of these steps is scary to me.

I worry people might just “stop paying” on the payment plan

Even though the first Year of Hustle class had a payment plan, and nobody “just stopped paying,” I worry someone might.

I worry about raising the price

Even though I’ve successfully raised the price by over 300% since the first class (and worried about it every time).

I worry about sending students the 100% of the materials in advance

Even though last time, I gave away the “secret revelation” behind 30×500 (1, 2, 3), and three of the meatiest lessons (from deep inside the class 3 & 4, 5) — and it resulted in an even more productive, profitable class.

I know this one, particularly, sounds ridiculous. Why would I worry that more people will drop out or ask for refunds if I give them the material all at once, when my refund rate during class is already so low? People who have already passed the application process and already paid?

Well. Ever downloaded a bunch of ebooks or PDFs or slide decks, and because you had so many, you never dove into any of them? Yeah. I worry about that. And that a new student might read it all — and say “So, what?” Despite the fact that only one person out of nearly 300 students ever said anything like that. Yes, less than 0.4%. It’s still on my mind.

I really worried when I first offered the 100% money-back guarantee

It was a >$1,000 class. What if people take advantage of me? What if they took it to the end, took all the materials, got a lot out of it, and then dicked me over?

Every time I revise the sales page, and I leave that guarantee in there, I worry anew. Even though I’ve only ever given a handful of refunds per class.

It doesn’t matter.

What Does Worry Mean??

Worry isn’t always rational. Hell, most of the time it’s not. Worry is a sign you’re doing something you haven’t done before. Or it’s a sign you’re doing something you have done before, which worked just fine, and your subconscious is refusing to learn the lesson.

Or it’s a sign of absolutely nothing.

So yeah, I’m worried. About allllll kinds of things.

But whenever I feel worry, I’ve made it a habit to remind myself:

I should be much more worried that I’ll straightjacket myself with fear. That the real thing to fear is doing the same thing, forever.

NB: This blog post was inspired by Brooke Riggio, a 30×500 alum, who’s worried about his money-back guarantee:

I gave him that advice because when I was worried, other people gave it to me. And they were right. And I am right. But it is still scary and we still worry.

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  1. Noah Gibbs

    distributing 100% of the materials a month early to people who attend

    As a current 30×500′er, I am 100% in favor of this. Being able to go more at my own pace is a huge deal for me. That doesn’t mean you can’t be scared of it, just that yeah, I agree that it will make for a better class.

    By the way, as far as continuing to raise the price… As you get more successful, you’re selling better credibility. Also, as you continue to do so and continue to let former students take the class, you are signalling, “buy now before the price goes up. As the class gets more expensive and attracts ever-higher quality students, your value-for-money will continue to increase. You get to be part of this even while I’m not hugely famous yet. You might be priced out if you wait a few years.”

    Not that you should phrase it exactly that way.

    • Amy

      Thanks, Noah! :)

      You’re right. That is exactly why I want to give out all the materials in advance: so people can get a sense of what’s coming, how much work it’ll be, and so they can go at their own pace without begging me for advanced lessons OR feeling like they’re “behind.”

      Aaaand… your pitch for WHY I get to raise the price is pretty good ;)

  2. John Miller

    As someone who signed up for 30×500 and found out it WASN’T for me, I can say (1) honoring your money-back guarantee means I might purchase something else in the future with no fear or worries, (2) I’ve “good-mouthed” you to just about everyone who might be interested. I found your attitude toward everything refreshing, and it made me feel good about doing business with you, even if it didn’t turn out to be the best thing for me.

    I still think the class has a lot of value – just not what I was looking for. Raising the price seems rational, you give a lot of good honest teaching. Not sure about the application process, only in that I’m not sure what the goal is (to have people self-select out perhaps?). Giving all the materials at once: My opinion was that staging it helped reinforce that part of the process is, well, the process, and there’s something affirming to going through it. Not being able to “read ahead” forces you to really do the steps.

    • Art

      Hey John, I am just curious – when you say that the class wasn’t for you, what exactly was that stopped you from taking it? Was it the load, the format or anything else?

      I see a lot of glowing reviews for the 30×500 class but all of them are from people who had taken it and it’s quite subject to the confirmation bias. So it’d be interesting to hear what didn’t work out for you.


  3. Kelly

    As someone who has a habit of almost taking your course, who finally actually has a burning reason to, the value for me would be access to you & to the other people in the class. The material would come second. I wouldn’t think that I’d gotten all the value even with 100% of the materials, although I’d love getting them all up front. I’d want to know I could ask questions throughout. Knowing you’d be there so I could really spend 1 hour a day, and not get stuck with a question I didn’t know the answer to… That’s huge. The other thing I’d like is, instead of a guarantee, to pay a high price at the beginning, but then get part of it paid back to me if I complete all the work. So I’d get rewarded for following through–the onus is on me, not you. You have enough results & testimonials by now not to have to guarantee on your end, in my opinion. It’s really about getting people to commit to this process in their own minds, not just to buy the course. Is it summer yet?


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