Ep. 24: Grow Your Practice with Counselling and Online Programs with Vanessa Perrone - The Leveraged Practice

Ep. 24: Grow Your Practice with Counselling and Online Programs with Vanessa Perrone

TLP Ep.24

So many of you have shared that hearing stories of those who have launched online programs is so useful to understand when’s the right time to create an online program, how it fits into your practice and how to optimize your enrollment, so all your work reaches the right clients and grows your practice.

Today I have another amazing guest and one of my closest friends in the Dietitian world, Vanessa Perrone, Registered Dietitian Nutritionist behind Motive Nutrition sharing her story.  We connected years ago and it was great to finally have someone who understood what it was like back then to create and run an online program – without the platforms there are nowadays that make it a whole lot easier. 

As a creative, who loves to envision, create and bring things to life, Vanessa wanted the freedom to help people in a different way, that offering strictly counselling wouldn’t allow. She describes her journey from doing 1:1 counselling at a gym to having a private practice with a few locations and a team of dietitians to doing a full leap into adding an online program to her practice.

Vanessa and I talk about how to start by adding to what your practice already does, how to know what program to create and we share what’s working now  – so you too can have the freedom to go beyond your local city limits and reach more of the clients you love to work with!

If you enjoyed this podcast, you may enjoy these 3 guest podcast episodes with other health practitioners who have created online programs:

Prefer reading? Here’s the transcript below


Stephanie: Hello, hello. Welcome back to another episode. I’m so glad that you’re here with me. And one of the things that I hear from you and my listeners is that hearing stories about those that have gone before you and created and launched online programs can be so useful to help you understand when’s the right time for you to create an online program, how it fits into your practice and, most importantly, how to optimize enrollment. So that all the work you put into creating this program is for a good cause and that it actually helps you grow your practice.

Today I have a very special guest with me. One of my closest friends in the dietitian world, Vanessa Perrone, is here with me. Welcome, Vanessa.

VanessaThank you so much. I’m so honored to be on your show, I love it.

Stephanie: I’m so excited you’re here. So Vanessa and I go back a few years. And actually, how I found Vanessa… Vanessa, I just remember googling dietitians – because I’m a dietitian, as you guys know – I was either googling online programs or cooking because years ago, my first online program was Demos for Dietitians where I taught people how to teach cooking.

Then I found Vanessa on the inner web, talking about how she had an online program for teaching cooking. Like soul mates from day one. I can’t believe it. When I came across her, I was like, this girl is amazing.

Vanessa: It’s so crazy. I remember when you reached out to me, and I just felt like right away, somebody finally understood what I was going through.

Stephanie: Yeah, it was so early in the creating online programs world. So I remember coming across Vanessa one day, but not really reaching out and just knowing of her. Then I actually got to create a workshop for a national conference here in Canada, the Dietitians of Canada conference. That workshop was teaching cooking, of course, and it was in Quebec, so we needed someone in Quebec to help us do it.

I got to reach out to this woman who I thought was amazing. And I had a chance to actually, you know, have that reason to say, “Well, hello, who are you? And let’s connect.”

So Vanessa, can you tell us a little bit about who you are and where you are? Vanessa is in a different province than me in Canada. So we connect on the internet and whenever we can in real life. So tell us a little bit about you, your practice and what you’re up to.

Vanessa: Okay, so I am a dietitian based in Montreal, and I’ve been a dietitian since 2010. I did a master’s degree after that. Even while I was doing my master’s degree, I started working in counselling. I had gotten a job doing some nutrition counselling in a gym. But I always knew that I wanted to branch out and run my own business.

So it really started off as just blogging during my master’s degree. I set up a blog, and it was just a way for me to just practice. I really learned a lot just from blogging and learning more about nutrition in a different way than I had really applied it in school, when you’re trying to stay current and you’re trying to provide information to your readers. So I started dabbling with that, and I really enjoyed that space, but I was counselling at the same time.

Then as soon as I graduated, the first thing that I did was I stopped working at my job and I launched my private practice. So I’ve been in private practice going on six years this year. So 2019 in the fall, it’s going to be six years that Motive Nutrition as a business, not as a blog, has been running. We started off as a private practice, and my goodness we’re now in a few locations here in the city.

We’ve got a team of dietitians that work together and focus a lot on women’s health and mindful eating, and prenatal nutrition and infertility a lot more right now too. That’s been a really nice experience.

When to Add an Online Program to a Health Practice

 

Stephanie: So when was it? I mean, we could talk about your practice and how it’s changed over all those years for hours and hours, but can you tell us – because this is the most relevant thing to people who are listening right now- when in that journey did you start your online program? Because I met you four years ago. So when was it that you started the online program? That’s the first question: when did you bring that in?

Vanessa: I brought it in in 2013. I actually did it quite at the beginning. But I had been working, not in my own business, but I had been working in a gym. I had been doing one-on-one counselling for over two years. While I was still in school, I took some time to slowly start working on this online program. So in 2013, I simultaneously launched both.

It’s something that I’d wanted to do for a little while and I kind of did that full-on leap at the same time. But I had to do the counselling first. It was really what was most known. It was what people recognized. You know, you have to earn your bread and butter, as they say, when it comes to business and so I needed to build my business so that I can then change my business. That’s what I wanted.

So I really focused on one-on-one counselling at the time. I would drive to people’s houses. Remember that? My gosh, I would have all my things and I would just drive to people’s houses and have an office space. All at the same time, I was working on building that online business and that first online course.

Stephanie: What’s funny is it’s the same year – I started my business in 2011, a few years before Vanessa – but 2013 is when I launched my first online program. So the funny thing about Vanessa and I is that I know we might sound young, however we have been teaching online since 2013.

Let me tell you how messy it was. It was so messy. The first online platform I used, I hired a company on the internet from the other side of the planet. They charged me $3,000 or something – and you could get so much good stuff for $3,000 – to custom-build a plugin or something for my WordPress website, and it was a piece of garbage that I threw in the garbage six months later.

So Vanessa and I are old school. We duct-taped pieces together to create these online programs. So when my students in the workshop feel overwhelmed, I totally get it because I’ve been there.

But I also think that it’s so much easier today because you can just pay $50 a month for a platform. That saves you so much headache. Just do it guys, just do it. If you’re out there thinking, “Oh my gosh, what platform do I use?” Just save yourself the time and the energy and the pain. It really doesn’t matter, just pick one. You know, there’s lots of great ones, just pick one. That’s not the most important thing. The other things are more important.

Why Create an Online Health Program?

 

Stephanie: So Vanessa, tell us: why an online program? What pulled you towards an online program? You were growing your business and you were seeing clients one-on-one. Why an online program?

Vanessa: You know, they say that the student finds the teacher at the right time. I knew that I wanted to go and start a business and I wanted something that was scalable. I knew that from the beginning. And I wanted something that would have the potential to grow and that would allow me to be a bit more location-independent.

I was always somebody who liked doing more than one thing and I knew I wouldn’t be satisfied or fulfilled long-term strictly doing counselling. I knew that it was about fulfillment, number one.

Stephanie: So those were two great things that I just wanted to connect people to. So the first was something that was scalable. To create an online program is a product. It’s something you can create that doesn’t just require that time or energy. So I’m glad that you said that because you very early on as an entrepreneur said, “Okay, I’m running a business. This is okay, this is good. But shoot, every time I make $1 it’s because I give a minute of my time. That’s the way I’m doing it.”

So if you’re out there listening and you’re thinking, “I love doing the work that I do, but man, I’d like to scale it, I’d like to grow this.” You know, we connect with you. Vanessa connects with you. That’s why she started to do that.

And the second thing I think you just said was fulfillment of the type of work-life you wanted to have, right?

Vanessa: Right, and being able to do different things. It was just – and I have so much respect for dietitians and the work that they do – but I’ve always been a creative. I like creating things, envisioning things and bringing things to life. That’s what drives me. I wanted to be able to have that freedom, and I knew that strictly doing counselling work wouldn’t give me that.

So I wanted to build a business that would allow me to build from scratch and to help people in a different way.

Stephanie: And do you feel like you’re a natural teacher?

Vanessa: I feel dietitians are natural teachers. Our job is to translate and to teach and to translate science. I think it comes naturally to us who have gone into this profession, to be a teacher. I’ve changed. I’ve learned how to be a better teacher. But I definitely do enjoy teaching.

Stephanie: Well, I always think it’s so funny, because if you’re in the health field – whether you’re a dietitian or another kind of clinician, whether you’re a physiotherapist, a psychologist, a social worker or any type of therapist in any area, or a doctor in the medical field or a nurse – we have to learn how to teach. I mean, maybe some of us don’t learn how to teach and we’re not great teachers. But for many of us, we realized that the change in the lives of our clients is impacted by how we teach. And so I believe that so many people out there who are in the health profession are learning how to be good teachers.

Then when we go online, we have to continue to learn how to be good teachers and better teachers. But I just think we have this natural ability, or if it’s not natural, we have to learn how to be teachers. And so when it feels so scary to create an online program, I always tell my clients, you’re just taking what you do every day and putting it on the internet. That’s it. That’s how simple the first online program, which we like to call a beta, really is.

Online Health Programs: First Version vs. Future Versions

 

Stephanie: So can you tell me a little bit about how your program has changed since that first time around? Because I think sometimes people are so scared to do the first one. But you can never get to the fifth version of it if you don’t get out there. So tell us a little bit about what you’ve learned along the way, or maybe even how it’s changed.

Vanessa: So much has changed, and Stephanie and I joke about this all the time, but we’re constantly tweaking and evolving and iterating. I feel like sometimes with the business space, you’re just given the impression that you create something and then that’s it, and then the money will come.

So you have to find a way to enjoy the process a little bit as well. It’s scary to know that you’re constantly evolving, but at the same time, it’s the benefit of it, because everybody has to launch the first time around. And only once you do, you will never have any idea what the type of feedback that you’ll get.

So the first program that I created was essentially to teach basic cooking skills to clients at home. It was for clients that came into my office and our recommendation was to eat more vegetables. That’s great in theory, but to help them in practice, I wanted to give them some tools for that. So it’s changed, I’ve kind of iterated that program a little bit and I’ve actually divided that program into smaller sub-programs, just because I realized that it was probably too much information at once. So now I created smaller programs that are a little bit more digestible and I’ve also created something a little bit different, an entirely different program.

Because when I started out, I created something that I wanted people to have. And now, over the years, I have also added to that – not only what I wanted people to have – but what’s more important to me as a business owner is what people want. So it’s a “sell them what they want, give them what they need” approach. And so that’s what I created.

I also have a lifestyle program that is essentially the lifestyle coaching that I do with people one-on-one, but leveraged onto an online platform so people can sign up from wherever they are and follow at their own pace. So I have created that as well.

Stephanie: So I want to just highlight a few things that Vanessa said. The second thing is the smaller components. So this is something that I actually have talked a lot with Vanessa. We talk about this all the time, but I talk a lot about it with my clients, because we have this vision in our head of here’s what I want to teach. And when we start teaching it and we start rolling it out, we can realize, whoa, this is way bigger than I thought and there’s way more information I can include.

How we do that is because we do it and we get feedback. People ask us more questions. People ask us about all these things that, because we know our own subject, we forget of all these little blank spots that people have.

Sp as you start teaching, you may decide your program is actually two programs, or it’s a 12-week program and not a six-week program. , You know, the online program I run, it started out as a 12-week program based on the one-to-one work that I did with clients, which was usually three months long. Now people have 12-month access to it. It’s seven weeks, another seven weeks, and then month-to-month content for 12 months. It’s so big and we could break it up into different programs as well.

But the point is that you don’t really know that until you get out there. So doing that first program, you just say to people, “I’m here to support you. I’m here to answer your questions. I’m here to figure it out with you.” It might be you rolling through your first version and then understanding that it’s bigger or smaller, or it’s like Vanessa said, it’s actually a bunch of different programs, which is really cool.

The other thing I want to just highlight, Vanessa, is you said your first program was helping teach people about cooking, which so many of us in the health space, we give this advice – and then there’s follow-up advice that people need. We’re saying, “Go off and do these exercises.” And people have no idea how to move their body, or they have no idea how to even lie on a mat, or they have no idea how to eat the healthy food that we tell them to.

How an Online Program Can Fit into a Health Practice

 

So if you are listening to this and you’re thinking, “How does a program fit into my practice?” Think about how you can support your current one-to-one work. That might be a great, easy place for you to start where perhaps you’re doing one-to-one programs with people now, but you really want to give them extra resources. Or you really wish you could, like how Vanessa and I did in the early days, drive to people’s houses and teach them cooking in their own living rooms or in their own kitchens. And oh my gosh, let me tell you, it’s not a profitable way to grow business so don’t do it.

But creating these online programs that can supplement the work that you’re doing could be a really easy way to start and you can sell it to your current clients who really, really love it. So I think those were a couple of really amazing lessons that you’ve learned along the way.

Vanessa: Yes, that was and it takes time to kind of figure all that out. I think for a lot of dietitians here, it’s possible to do both and it doesn’t have to be all private practice or all online. There’s a way to complement it. Now with my private practice, we find that some of our clients who are driven into the private practice, we send them to our online programs. Because they’re already familiar with our approach, they’re likely to jump on. So it’s not an entirely new customer base or audience that I have to find. I’m already kind of funneling that in, so it ends up working well.

Stephanie: What we’re talking about here is increasing the customer value. So if we put our business hats on for a second – I know for some of us talking business and talking sales is uncomfortable – but let’s do it for a second, because that’s how you’re going to be able to continue to help people is to run a business that works.

Looking at your client and seeing what the customer value is and how you can continue to support them increases their value. So instead of maybe, let’s say $500 for someone that comes and sees you for a few months, someone that maybe purchases one or two online programs could now be worth $800 as a customer value overall.

Like Vanessa said, you aren’t going out and searching and searching for more people. You actually can make more money and grow your practice with the same people. And we’re not making anyone do anything. But we’re thinking about our clients right now and what else can help them. That’s where that supplemental program comes in. Like Vanessa said she’s got some one-to-one, but then they also might want these other products and services.

The other way you can create an online program – Vanessa was saying her second program that she runs is the Love Your Lifestyle program, right Vanessa? If you go to Motive Nutrition online, you can see more about Vanessa, her practice and her programs. In the show notes we will have links to Vanessa as well so you can check her out and connect with her if you have any questions or you want to see what magic she’s putting out in the world.

But the Love Your Lifestyle program is this version of the work that Vanessa is doing one-to-one, but in an online version. And so with that version, we can access more people, we can make a bigger impact, we can help people out of our city limits. So that’s two really good examples that you have in your practice that people can consider when they’re thinking, “Where does an online program fit for me?” It can be that supplement to your current work or it can be a version of your one-to-one that’s available online for people.

Vanessa: A hundred percent. You mentioned the customer value. It’s also always from a place of things that the client really needs and what will help them a little bit better. And so these are often a lot of these subcategories.

The reason I ended up breaking these courses down into smaller courses is because certain questions kept coming around from the clients that we were already seeing, and they were asking for specific resources. They were asking if we had specific resources, and then in the end, it’s what they wanted. It’s what they needed and we knew it would help them. So it just ended up being the most natural choice for this program.

Changes to Online Health Education

 

Stephanie: Vanessa, we’ve been in this space for almost six years. I think one of the interesting things that I teach my clients and because I’ve been in this space for so long – I wonder what you think about this – is the world of health is interesting. It’s been changing. The world of online health, information and courses and all that kind of stuff, I believe it’s changing.

For many of our audiences, I’m not sure a $500 12-week program is going to sell as well as it might have sold a few years ago. Even as you were even talking about, when we first started our online programs in 2013, that they were rare. So in those early years, people were, “Oh, I don’t want to buy an online program, that’s weird.” Now today, in 2019, we’re looking at this and people are saying, and I think this is the future as well, “Oh, that’s expensive. $500 for a 12-week program.” I’m making that up as an example – but even for a 12-month program, numbers matter to people today.

For some of us, as we’re planning out our content, our courses and our workshops in our programs, the future of online health courses and programs may be smaller pieces that are maybe a four-week program, or a six-week program that people can digest. And it’s a lower price point.

It really depends on your audience, your practice, your work, so many things. I’m not saying $500 doesn’t work for people. It totally does for so many practices. But it’s just something for you to consider that there’s no one right way to do it, you know? There’s so many business coaches out there that we see in Facebook ads and they say, “Do it this one way” and I’m like, no, there’s not one way. Maybe for some businesses or clinics, that would work, but there’s so many options on doing things. So I appreciate you sharing that particular thing. Because I just wonder about that. What do you think about that?

Vanessa: Oh my goodness, I completely agree. There’s not one particular way for every business and even for one period of time. We’ve gone through it even with one single program and I’m still testing and iterating in terms of the way I deliver something to someone. I’ve done the closed programs, I’ve done the open enrollments, and I’ve done different things. And so it can be scary to feel like you’re always switching things up.

But it’s because there isn’t one formula and people will try to sell you on that one formula. You just have to do your best to ask questions, to speak to your audience, and to see what would help. You really come from a place of impact and it depends on what the services that you offer.

For myself, for the Love Your Lifestyle plan, I chose an open and closed program. Because one of the benefits of that program versus meeting people one-on-one was that community aspect, the fact that you’re in a group with other people who are walking through that same process.

They liked having a group start and group end where they felt like they could communicate, “Oh, I’m at week one, I’m at week two.” It worked well for them. That’s not necessary for any type of program. But for them specifically, that worked best. And so I open and I close, because they feel like they’re going through it with other people and they enjoyed that a little bit more.

But you have to really pay attention to what works for you and your audience.

Stephanie: And you have to show up really well in those – I mean every time you run your program – but in those first ones especially, being really active and asking those questions in that first version, so you can get clear on some of this stuff. Because Vanessa, you and I talked, I feel like it was a year or two ago, about open enrollment for Love Your Lifestyle, if you could do ongoing open enrollment.

So like Vanessa said, there’s no one right way to do it. But you have to test it and try it and talk to your people and show up and listen and change it when you need to.

I love that you said things change over time. I always recommend to my clients that they don’t put thousands and thousands and thousands of dollars into graphic design and spend six months recording everything, especially the first time around or the second time around. You can eventually, if you want to, put all that money and all that time into a program. I know Vanessa has spent a lot of money making really beautiful videos for her program, which is so great because it increases the value. But just know that things change over time.

Vanessa, when your program first came out, was it long? Because mine was probably 30-minute classes. So you would click play, and it was a 30-minute video in 2013, in 2014. But then in the last couple of years, I’ve taken those 30-minute videos and made them into bite-size three-, four-, five-, six-, seven-minute videos at a time. So it’s the same 30-minute class, but now it’s five videos in one class. And that’s because education has changed and the way that we educate changes, so that change over time is such a good point.

Vanessa: Yep, I iterated that as well. I definitely shorten things up and delivered different formats. People like to listen to it in the car so along with the video, there’s an audio file.

So just paying attention to that and not being scared of feedback, no matter what it may be. Sometimes, you know, you get scared to ask people for feedback for fear of criticism, but it’s the only way you can really improve. So don’t be afraid to really survey people before, survey people after, and survey people who didn’t jump on, on why they didn’t. And just work from there.

Getting Feedback on Your Online Program

 

Stephanie: So how do you do feedback? You said, survey people at the beginning of the program, survey them at the end. Vanessa just said if they didn’t jump on, I think she means if someone doesn’t buy.

So if you do a launch and to the people that don’t enroll, send them an email. This is the hardest email, why didn’t you say yes to me? Your ego hurts so much, but suck it up because it’s worth it.

Vanessa: It took me time to build that. I think I just did this over the last year, because that was one of my personal roadblocks. I have never been very well-equipped for that kind of harsh, necessary feedback.

But at the end of the day, you realize that’s the only way. People aren’t ill-intentioned. People are already listening to you. They want to hear what you have to say. But they have some good points. And it was things like timing, pricing, pricing options and things like that. And those are things I can completely work on. Sometimes it was just a question of them and their life, and they just weren’t ready. So I had to adapt things a little bit so that I can make it more accessible.

Stephanie: Have you ever gotten feedback in the middle of something and then changed? So either in the middle of your launch – you were saying pricing and pricing options – or in the middle of your program, and then changed anything about that?

Vanessa: In the middle? Let me think. Last launch was the first time I offered a weekly payment. Somebody had asked me at the beginning of the launch. It was quite early enough and they were on an early bird list. And so I was able to add that option for my full-on launch and it worked well.

It was something new that I hadn’t thought of doing and I had seen other people do it. So I tested it out for this type of program. I would never have thought of that if that person hadn’t asked.

Stephanie: That’s so interesting. I remember doing a payment plan in the middle of my launch too once because at first I thought I don’t want to do a payment plan. But then people said, “Listen, I can’t afford a full payment.” And I said, “I like you, I think you’re wonderful, and you’re perfect for my program.”

Sometimes we get these ideas of how we want to do something and then when we meet the real people that we’re serving, we realize that it’s not that hard for me to make a payment plan. I think in my program, people want a lot of examples and so it’s not that hard for me to come up with an example or give you a template or do these little pieces.

Some of those things, I find that I build out even during a program. People ask for stuff and I add new pieces. I know you’ve done your program over and over again to add some of that feedback. So that’s fantastic.

The Impact of Adding an Online Program to Your Health Practice

 

Before we finish, would you tell me a little bit about how adding these online programs in – we’ve heard a little bit, that there’s a couple of different ones that are broken into smaller programs, and we can hear how they serve your client base, new clients and current clients and that is really useful – but how has it impacted you and your work life and the things that you focus on?

Vanessa: In a very positive way. So I have a two-year-old daughter and being self-employed, I am self-dependent as well. So my maternity leave was self-created and I took a full year off counselling because of the decision I made to be with my daughter at home. But because I had an online program, and I was able to still do seasonal launches, I was able to sustain that.

Had I not had that option, quite frankly, I’m not sure what I would have done in that situation. Obviously, I would have probably planned differently, but because I knew what to expect more or less, then I was able to plan that in. So that was really helpful for me.

It also gave me something to focus on, to continue growing my business while I had that time off at home as well. So I stayed very stimulated. I was able to focus on my business and I was able to benefit from that business network that I created. So that’s probably the biggest impact that it had.

Generally speaking, it’s that flexibility of time and not being dependent on if I have a sick day and I have to go pick up my daughter at daycare. You know, it’s a full day of missing work, right? But if I have a little bit of a consistent background in the online part of my business, then you know you can rely on that.

Stephanie: How many times do you launch a year? Was it the same during your mat leave or was it different?

Vanessa: So it’s the same. So I have one seasonal launch for the Love Your Lifestyle plan, which is a 12-week online program. Now with the original cooking program that we had talked about earlier, I’ve broken that up into a few different components. So that is going to be coming out shortly in little pieces and they’re going to be in a different format. So they’re going to be an evergreen format. So basically open enrollment all the time. But my open and closed launches are four times a year. Then I have evergreen programs that are available as well, so I do promotions a few times a year.

Stephanie: So when you say seasonally, it’s each quarter of the year that people can sign up for that. I love a good seasonal model. Because I think sometimes it doesn’t need to be open all the time. But people need a little bit of a lead-up to sign up. And if you do it just once or twice a year, I feel like we can kind of miss out on a lot of people. So I love that model of seasonal.

But I’m with you. I’ve tried evergreen, I’ve tried open-door, I tried group. Oh my gosh, you have to play around with a few things and keep an open mind to doing all of it. So I think that’s really good feedback.

Can you tell us a little bit about how the online program – I hear how it has helped support you in your work life and your family life – but how has it helped you grow your practice? I know where your practice is today is very different from where it was when you started. So has it made an impact on that growth?

Vanessa: The way that it’s made an impact was because I needed to rely on a private practice to fund my online business. That was where I was getting my income so I was focusing on counselling. But over time, my efforts when I was building my online practice were on social media, content creation and having a good website.

Five years ago, you didn’t really think of those things as affecting a private practice. But five years later, all of those elements that I put in are some of the reasons we get most of our clients. We get a lot of our clients through social media. We get a lot of our clients because of SEO and Google. And so had I not launched all of those efforts into content creation to build an online traffic, I probably wouldn’t have the private practice that I have today.

Stephanie: I just love what our takeaways are from this particular episode. Because we’ve talked about how you started in the one-to-one and you wanted and needed to do that. And that led into a program and how your programs support your clients.

But we’ve also talked about how investing in the online part of your business has supported the one-to-one private practice. So there really is this synergistic effect of the online environment. I think for so many people that I talked to, it really is about creating a successful business, supporting clients, and doing work that we love.

So, you know, obviously I’m super biased and think everyone has a need for an online program, whether it supports your current clients, gives you another stream of income, or helps you to grow your presence online – which brings you more traffic and more clients through your doors. There’s just so many reasons that teaching and educating people in an online environment is needed for your clients, never mind your own growth and your own practice to grow. So I think that this has been so useful.

Is there anything else that you want to share with people? And remember, people who are listening are thinking, “Can I do an online program? How do I create an online program? Is it right for my practice?” What are some things you would have people ask themselves or think about if they’re thinking about how to do this?

Vanessa: Well, I mean, whether you can is definitely not a question. You definitely can. It’s possible, it’s overwhelming, I know. But you just start by just writing it out. If you’re not even sure whether you can build a program or what type of program would work with your business, just start thinking about what you like talking about and where you get the most questions asked, and just sit down with a pad of paper and outline that. But don’t be afraid to utilize the massive resources that exist.

I would say – and this is one of the lessons that I’ve learned over time – learn how to recognize what you’re good at. Try to delegate whatever you can, while being mindful of budget and things like that, so you can really focus on what you’re specialized in. Have people support you so you can actually make this dream and this idea happen. So I think it’s really, really important. Like you said, there’s such great resources out there and it’s so much easier than it used to be. But if you need some additional help, start mapping that out now so you can reach out to to those people.

Stephanie: I think one last question is, Vanessa and I have invested a lot in our businesses with courses and programs and coaches and all kinds of things. When we started, there was no course or teacher who was teaching how to create an online program. I don’t know what made me think that I could do it. But I thought, I can put this on the internet now.

And for me, people were actually asking to come to my in-person workshops. I taught one-day trainings and people from all over Canada and outside of Canada were saying, “When are you going to come to Saskatchewan? And when are you going to come to….?” I was making hardly any money doing all this live in-person stuff, but I loved it so much.

So for me, people were asking me to basically figure out how to go to every city. So I don’t know where I got this idea. But in 2013, I guess when I was doing it and when Vanessa was trying to figure it out, we probably saw one human on the internet doing this and we figured we can do this too. And we figured it out.

Along the way, I think I was learning a lot because there was nothing to teach me how to do it. I was learning a lot about sales, marketing and emails, and then learning about curriculum and education development as I was trying it out. I mean, remember teleconference lines? We didn’t do video Q&A calls in 2013, 2014. I don’t even know about 2015. We did teleconference lines where people would call a number to join a call. My gosh, you remember that? Did you do that?

Vanessa: I did do that, and then push a button to raise your hand. It was the bootstrap. When I think back on it, I’m not entirely sure if I would be able to do it over, if I think back on everything that I had to put together to really bootstrap that online course. So I’m so thankful for everything that exists now. It’s so much easier. I really wish Stephanie had existed back then. It would have been so much easier.

Stephanie: For those of you that are listening, if you’ve listened my podcast before, you know I run a workshop. The workshop is $1,000. I spent $3,000 paying a company to create this terrible software on my computer that I threw in the garbage six months later. The point is that the workshop is affordable.

If you have a practice, you have a business, or you have the desire to grow and help people, you will make that thousand dollars back probably in your first launch. I’ll show you how. But you know, the point is that it takes you through this framework of how to create a program that people actually want to enroll in and all of the lessons that Vanessa and I have been through over all these years.

It just saves you that extra time, that hassle, that worry about what platform do I use and do I need to teleconference? What are all these things I use?

I put it together so that it saves people so much concern and worry about launching the crickets, no one’s signing up, how to price things, all that stuff. So I know we’ve invested all along, but we never invested in this because it just didn’t exist. We kind of trailblazed it ourselves. But we definitely invested along the way in learning some of these things to grow our businesses.

So I would highly recommend that if you are thinking about doing this, that you at least hop on a call with me and see if the workshop is the right fit for you and for me to answer your questions. But I just want you to know that when you go to Vanessa’s website, it’s MotiveNutrition.com, and you see all that she’s doing, just know – sometimes we see these websites and we see what people are doing and think, “I want to be there too.” But just know that she’s invested a lot of time, a lot of energy and a lot of money in coaching and training, all these things.

Vanessa: It’s my third website, guys. The third one that I’ve done. So I’m averaging one every two years. It’s always changing.

Stephanie: There’s just a lot that goes into it. And just so you, the listener, knows that I get you and I want to just make it easier. So if you need me at all, I am just an email away.

Alright, so thank you so much for being here. I think there were just so many good little tips and lessons and things we learned from Vanessa. Vanessa has been in this space for a long time honestly, since 2013. There were not a lot of health professionals out there doing online things I swear, at least in Canada. Maybe Vanessa and I were the only ones when I was looking on the internet for people that were doing this thing.

So I hope that you enjoyed this interview with Vanessa and you took away some excitement, some inspiration and some strength to know that you absolutely can do this to serve your clients better.

There’s no one right way to do it and there’s lots of different ways that you can bring this out in the world. Of course, if you need any help, I’m right here to help you along the way. Vanessa, thanks so much for making time for us.

Vanessa: Thank you so much for having me. It’s always a pleasure to talk to you.

Stephanie: I know, it’s so fun. Alright, well you guys have a great day and I will catch you back here next time.

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