Ep.26: Getting Started with Charlene Kennedy
If you have so many ideas or so many things that you want to do, you’re not alone. This is a natural entrepreneurial trait that your head is full of projects or programs or all these different things.
Today we have one of my past clients and serial entrepreneur, Charlene Kennedy, Registered Dietitian and expert in the field of pediatric nutrition, who runs a successful private practice, is co-founder of Nutrition Masterclass AND is about to launch another business.
Wow, three businesses!
It’s amazing what you can do when you focus on one thing, build that one thing and then do all the things!
We had fun chatting about what Charlene is working on and some of the things we’ve learned along the way, especially the ones that we didn’t expect.
Here’s what we covered:
- How to know when it’s time to create an online program (hint..look at your email)
- The thoughts that kept Charlene from taking action on creating her first online program (and what actually pushed her to do it!)
- The obstacles that delayed Charlene from getting started (like feeling overwhelmed about time, tech and online marketing)
- What it’s like doing it on your own versus getting the support you need (no more rabbit holes!)
- What she recommends you look at when choosing someone to work with (especially in the health field)
- How market research will help you figure out the best way to launch (something Charlene wishes she had done earlier)
- One thing to really keep in mind when creating your course (it’s not about you, it’s about your students)
Charlene shares that having an online program has definitely helped her see new future opportunities to continuously improve how she serves her clients in her business and practice.
I’m so excited to see what else Charlene will do in the near future!
Charlene Kennedy is a Registered Dietitian and expert in the field of pediatric nutrition with almost 20 years of experience. She completed her degree in Human Nutrition at St. Francis Xavier University in 2000 followed by a post-graduate dietetic internship with the Calgary Health Region in 2001. Her career began and continues at The Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario (CHEO), where she found her pediatric niche. For the past 13 years, Charlene has also been providing services for medically fragile and complex pediatric cases in the homecare setting.
The majority of Charlene’s time these days is spent running a well-established and growing private practice focusing on pediatric nutrition. Known for her down-to-earth nature and realistic approach, Charlene is well-respected by her dietitian colleagues as a leader in her field and entrepreneur, she is a sought after speaker, collaborator, preceptor and peer-trainer. In addition to her private practice, she is the co-founder of Nutrition Masterclass, which provides online courses for Registered Dietitians wanting to improve their skills and confidence in pediatric nutrition.
Outside of her clinical work, Charlene enjoys cooking, reading, skiing and snowboarding along with spending time with her husband and three kids.
If you enjoyed this podcast, you may enjoy these 3 other podcast episodes which are also interviews with health practitioners who have created online programs:
Prefer reading? Here’s the transcript below
Stephanie: Welcome back to another episode of The Leveraged Practice podcast. I’m really excited about this one because we have an interview with one of my past clients, Charlene. Charlene and I had so much fun together when she was going through the workshop in the program.
We just had so much time to chat about what she was working on, and some of the things that she learned along the way. It’s just so fun and we’re both here kind of giggling about it. Because, you know, some of the things that you learn as you do things or as you learn things, or as you actually take action in your practice or in your life, are so funny because you didn’t even realize some of those lessons that were going to be learned.
So, I think today is a really great episode with Charlene because she’s going to share a little bit about her journey on why she wanted to create an online program, which many of you may be thinking about now, and then some of the little lessons she learned along the way. So I think you’re going to take a lot out of this episode if you are thinking about or starting to create an online program.
At the end, we’ll have a few takeaways for you. Some action steps that you can take away right now in your journey in creating and launching an online program.
Health Practice Background
Stephanie: So Charlene, thank you so much for being here firstly. Can you tell us a little bit about you and what you do in your practice?
Charlene: Absolutely. So I am a Registered Dietitian. And about 10 years ago, I started a private practice, which was, you know, initially something I did on the side and kind of grew over the years. But now I have a number of patients working with me, and the focus of that business is one-on-one nutritional counselling in pediatrics and rehabilitation.
Last year with a fellow dietitian Julie Larocque, we launched Nutrition Masterclass, which is an online education platform geared towards dietitians who want to learn more about pediatric nutrition, increase your skills and confidence. So we launched our first course in February 2019, which was Infant Nutrition Essentials. So that’s kind of a second thing that I do.
And thirdly, I’m just about to launch a third business, sort of completely unrelated to the first two, called tube free living, and it’s in collaboration with Occupational Therapist, Carrie Owen. And our goal is to help kids wean off tube feedings. So those are the three things that I got on the plate right now.
Stephanie: So fun! For all of you listening, if you feel like sometimes you’re a little bipolar because you have so many ideas or so many things that you want to do, you’re not alone. This is a natural entrepreneurial trait that your head is full of projects or programs or all these different things.
So you know, one of the things that I think, Charlene I think you would probably agree, because if we hear about you, you started your practice 10 years ago, then you invested last year in learning how to launch this online program. One of the things is if you do have lots of different ideas – one thing at a time.
So, focus on one thing, build that one thing and then do all the things. But that’s great. You can do three things. Charlene is already telling us you could do all the things, just probably focus on them one at a time.
The Idea to Create an Online Program
Stephanie: Well, thank you for being here again. And I wanted to start by asking, you had your practice, it sounds pretty successful and you have other dietitians working for you,Why was it that you had this idea to create an online program?
Charlene: I think pediatrics really is sort of my passion. It’s something I fell in love with. My very first job coming out of my internship was in a children’s hospital, and I still work there occasionally to this day, so it’s something that I truly love. So that’s kind of the background of it.
Also, over the years as you get more and more experienced, I got a lot of phone calls and emails. For Julie, my partner in the online course, same thing with her. Tons of emails and phone calls from other dietitians, looking for help, “So, what do I do in this case? How do I deal with this situation?” You know, many of these dietitians are brand new in their role in pediatrics, or they just have seen very, very few pediatric patients so it’s really hard to get a good grasp of things that way.
So, you just kind of feel that you can never really help them the way that you really want to be able to help them. So, Julie and I kind of were talking about this idea for years before we actually took action on it. And we saw in various online support groups that there were tons of pediatric questions being asked by other dietitians, but not always getting tons of answers. So, we just saw the need and kind of felt like we just had to go for it and give it a try, and see what happens.
Stephanie: Yeah, I love that. And I think if you’re listening to this, this might sound sound familiar to you. Because I think for many of us, we love a topic so definitely don’t do anything you don’t love or you can do it if you have to. But if you’re going to create an online program, it’s a lot of work and if you’re going to grow your practice and your business in that direction, you gotta love it.
The other thing Charlene said was this experience thing. I don’t know if you see this Charlene, but I see people sometimes creating things before they’re ready, like you’re brand new or you’re just starting with something. It’s okay, you don’t have to create an online program the day you graduate. You can, I mean, we’re not going to stop you and maybe it does work for you. But part of growing your business, growing your practice, or teaching lots of people, or creating an online program is, leveraging experience that you have, that you’ve built up.
Whether it’s over a few years or over a decade, whatever that is, we all have different kinds of experiences with our practice or in our personal life. And so it really does make it easier to create that program when you’re not trying to guess and just do tons of research. And you know, the research is great, but you leverage practical experience.
So, another thing you said though, is a great way to know if it’s time to create an online program, is if you are getting a lot of calls or a lot of emails or a lot of questions about topics over and over and over again, whether you’re on the clinical side or the professional side of creating an online program. That’s a great indication that there is a need.
I did the same thing with my very first program, but it was live in person first, and we toured Canada doing it. I was teaching cooking classes and I kept getting all these emails on a daily or weekly basis about how the heck I was doing that. And there’s only so much you can support people with in an email.
And the other part of it is I love this idea of a mentor. Many of us have probably been lucky enough to have a mentor to share some advice with us. But as an individual, you can’t possibly mentor everyone you know. You have so much information to share. So if you’re someone who’s being asked by your colleagues, lots of questions over and over again, it might be time to collect all that information in your brain and put it into a way that people can consume it and learn from you on a bigger, more scalable way so you can help more people.
So those are all great, great things for us to think about and for you to think about, if you’re thinking about, “Does an online program fit into my practice? How do I fit it in? When’s the right time to do it?” So thank you for that.
And I think another thing you mentioned really quickly, was the Facebook group. If you’re wondering, “Does the world need another online program? Or does the world really need what I have?” Well, think about the way people are consuming information right now. And some of the ways that are the hottest, like googling and using Facebook groups, doesn’t really help people in the best way.
Obstacles to Creating an Online Program
Stephanie: So that’s why you wanted to create it and how you started to get into it. And what do you think that you were really struggling with as you were thinking, “Okay, we have this idea we’ve been thinking about for a few years.” Right? So, lots of people think about it for a while before they do it.So what were your real obstacles, why you didn’t do it right away or what you were struggling with?
Charlene: I think, the time factor is definitely one. Julie still does have a full time job in the hospital. I have more flexibility since I have a private practice and that’s one of the benefits. You can kind of mesh your schedule however you want it to go.
So just thinking of the time and concern about, “How much time is this going to take? What are we getting ourselves into? Are we going to regret this? Is it worth it?” You know, all those things.
And also, I would say, using technology. You know, I’m in my 40s and I can do email. Yeah, I can do an excel spreadsheet. But, all of those online things, like video, “How do we record? What kind of microphone do I use? What kind of camera do I need? Where do I host the video? What kind of platform?” All of those questions. You know, that was very overwhelming.
And looking back, we figured it out. But that sort of stuff is stressful, and just wrapping your head around that, it’s hard. It’s hard to think about that.
And then marketing as well would be another struggle like, “How are we going to tell people about this? How are people going to know about this? How do we convince people that it’s worth it for them and that we can help them?” So those sort of questions.
It was all going to be online marketing, primarily in email marketing, which again is a whole new world. Something that neither of us had ever done before. And so those two, I say the technology and the marketing were the big ones.
The content was less though since we both felt really comfortable with the topics. So, it’s just the logistics of it all that really stressed us out. So many lessons learned over the past year. And we’ll often comment to one another, this was lesson number 2303.
I’ve only done this a couple times now and I could write a book myself. I can’t imagine, somebody, like you who’s done this multiple, multiple times. The size of your book will be 10 times the size of my book, but it’s so many lessons over the year.
Stephanie: Part of it is like, the lessons are all a part of all of our journeys. And Charlene, you worked with me, so we got some of those lessons done real quick, right? Like that’s part of why you do decide to work with someone who’s done it before. No matter where you are in your business and no matter what you want to learn.
You can learn everything on your own if you want to these days, but it kind of helps you learn some of these lessons a little more quickly. But then sometimes you just have your own lessons to learn, you know, and we all enter in in a different way. We all have a different way we work. We all have a different audience, and so it’s fine.
I remember when I first started my practice in 2011. So you’ve been doing this a little longer than me. And as I was learning all these things, there was no one teaching then. There were no business coaches or dietitians back then. I was just doing it all by myself.
My husband was saying, you really need to write this all down, because you will write a book one day with all the things you’re learning along the way. And I never did write it down. But imagine I wrote it down from day one, or we all did when starting a practice. It would be like an encyclopedia of books, it would be pretty crazy.
So, you’re learning along the way still, which is great, but those obstacles, if those feel familiar to you those are very, very common, and they’re the things that we’re most uncomfortable with.
The most interesting thing, and I wonder if that’s why it’s so overwhelming, is because each of those one things feels like we can go into a rabbit hole, you know, like, what microphone do I use?
Geez, if you Google that right now, you’d have one article for every single microphone on the market! You know, there would be so many different choices. You’d wonder if you needed like a boom mic and if you need a stand. Is it okay on your desk? And do you put a screen, like a pop filter, in front of it?
Just one tiny decision can be a rabbit hole of hours and hours of research. And so there’s so many little decisions when it comes to online programs. And I think that’s where the overwhelm is. There’s so much information in the world right now that one thing feels like an intense rabbit hole.
The Right Investment to Create an Online Program
Stephanie: So, you were dealing with this. And then you heard about me through one of your colleagues and the work that I was doing in the program. And so you were struggling. I’m sure a lot of people have those kinds of problems. But what was your way to go about saying, “Okay, I want to do this. I want to invest some money and invest some time in learning.” From me or learning from someone else, instead of guessing all of this on your own.What was that like for you? That experience of saying, “Okay, I’m going to invest in this.” And why did you do that? And had did you come through that decision?
Charlene: Well, I started trying to do it on my own. I can do this, you know, and then that microphone example that you gave is a perfect example. With every single thing that came up, I’d be like two hours into researching microphones, and four hours into this. I’m like, this is crazy.
I need to find a way to streamline this and just get it done. Because, if I’m spending all this time on all these little topics along the way, it’s just never going to be finished, right?
And I also did listen to a ton of podcasts, which I learned a ton from. Eventually you need to put it all down and move on, and get things done.
So I really needed somebody who had done it before. And who I knew had helped others do something similar to what I wanted to do. Just to get me in line and take off some of those stressors. And get me kind of focused, I guess, and just get the show on the road.
So, you had launched many, many online programs before. I had seen your launches, being part of a similar dietitian community as you. So I felt like you knew what you were doing and you had done it before. To me, you were an obvious choice as to where I would invest in, in my learning and getting this program rolling.
Stephanie: So, I mean, we are talking with Charlene who did work with me. So there is some bias here that she’s like, “And here’s why I picked Stephanie.” But I think there’s also some really good takeaways here.
One, if you’re choosing someone to work with ever, find who has done what you want to do. You know, this is one of the biggest things that frustrates me when I see the online business coaching world or all of the options out there. There’s so many options for you to spend thousands and thousands of dollars on mentors or coaches or courses. This is a big thing that I would recommend, and Charlene recommends and we’ll talk about that. It was helpful and I did help Charlene, but just finding someone who’s done what you want to do and they’ve been through it before.
I’m really specifically talking about the health industry because I believe that health, whether you’re running a professional course, for health professionals, like Charlene, or any kind of professionals, or a Clinical Health course, or program or workshop, whatever it is, they’re different areas besides what we’re seeing in the online education space about all these different things.
So, because I’ve done it so many times, I really encourage people to make sure that they choose to work with someone who’s gone through and can apply the principles they’re teaching to the actual industry. That’s such a benefit.
So I have done five online programs for professionals and done five online programs for the clinical nutrition client route, so B2B and B2C. So, with Charlene wanting to create a professional program, what’s fun is that I’ve done them in so many different areas that so many people have seen my programs and launches, and maybe even done some of them in the different areas. So that’s fun that you got to see some of that and say, “Oh, it looks like she knows what she’s doing here because this looks good.” So you can actually feel what you would learn and how I’d walk you through it. So that’s really fun.
So, why don’t you tell us a little bit about your journey and creating the online program? It is ups and downs, and it is hard work. You know, I never say to people, “Oh, well, you know, we’ll just whip it together, and it’ll be fine.” Now for some of us, it’s a little easier. For some of us, it takes a little less time. For some of us, we have a lot of the material together. Like some people I work with, they’ve done their program in person, one to one or in a group setting. So we can lean into it. Charlene was building a new program. So that’s always fun.
3 Important Learnings When Building an Online Program
Stephanie: Tell us a little bit about what you learned along the way of creating the program.
And some of those fun little pop up lessons that you’re like, “Oh, I didn’t know about this one.” You know, what surprised you? Those kinds of things.
Charlene: I would say, I mentioned that we started trying to do this on our own first and we just weren’t getting anywhere. We were jumping all over the place, and we had kind of narrowed down what our topic would be. In hindsight, we did not do a lot of market research on that, I would say.
We had basically a Facebook group we had started for dietitians interested in pediatrics. And we were asking them questions as they entered the group and within the group about where their struggles were, and all that kind of stuff. But, we didn’t do a ton of background research.
And in hindsight, it might have been helpful to do a little bit more than we did. We learned that, once we started with your program. I realized that we kind of missed a big part of that stuff. I think we maybe would have done a few things differently.
I think we just really lucked out in the topics that we ended up. It ended up really being what people did want, I think. But that was more luck than anything. It wasn’t because of all of this research we had done.
How Market Research Applies
Stephanie: Did any of the research influence how you presented that course? Or did you add an extra module in? Or are you thinking of creating a second course? So Charlene and Julie kind of put together a program and then they were like, “Ooh, there might be another topic here?” So did that market research influence anything of what you already had worked on? Or where did you go with that?
Charlene: So, moving forward we did do a lot more research on the future things that we were planning. And also, our first course just wrapped up.
We did an evaluation, and all of that. Asking our students who went through the course, what was working for them, what wasn’t working for them and we learned a lot from our students.
Definitely next time around, we’re going to change some things around. Have a few different topics, add some, take some away, that kind of thing. I think we have a better idea now, because we have done more of that background work as to what our students that are in our target audience, are looking for and what they might need in the future.
So, some of the big takeaways were, the perfectionism. I think, myself, I just have perfectionist qualities. So does Julie. I think as a profession, dietitians tend to be like that. And we just had to really try to let that go in the end. It was just never going to get done. And we just had to go for it and let that go.
Also, we learned a lot about timing, I would say of our launch. So we thought, we could launch it within a few weeks, maybe a month. It all would be good. Then we realized in talking with you, Stephanie, that no, no, no, that we needed more time than that. We took your advice and we did a much longer launch. I think it really helped us out.
Stephanie: We talked a lot in the calls that you and I had, like in our group calls. I just have some memories of you and I talking about the launch, like getting real deep in it. Those are some of the things that I do with my clients.
Charlene, you and I have probably spent, I feel like hours on this kind of stuff. Like really talking about the dates, and the calendar, and the time of year and how the weekends fit in.
With a professional launch, there’s a few things we do differently than a client based launch. With the different phases to it. You can still warm up the audience a little bit professionally, even if you don’t have your own list or your own Instagram. This is one of the things that I think is most important and as we’re chatting, I’m remembering some of our conversations about it.
No matter who you’re launching to, if you feel like, “I don’t have a huge audience, or I don’t know who to go to, I don’t know how to bring it out in the world”, there are lots of different strategies that we can build in to connect with people, to warm up people, to get them thinking about it before we say, “Hey, join.”
That’s one of the magical things I think that I teach my clients and that I’ve seen them do over and over again, like Charlene as an example. She’s like, “That really worked.” It’s not just that I have some idea. It’s that I’ve done it a bazillion times. And then I’m like, “Hey, Charlene, you go and do it”. Yep, it works. And ‘Hey Shawna, you go and do it” Okay, perfect it works. And “Hey Nazeema, you go and do it.” Great, it works. You know, we see these things over and over again.
So if you’re listening to this, which you are, because you’re hearing me talk, then, you know that’s one of the things that I think is one of the biggest learnings for a lot of people. It’s this, “Okay, I have the content down pat, but I’m getting stuck and I’m in my own way. I’m getting stuck in my own head.” Whether you’re a dietitian, or a psychotherapist, or you’re a physio or a physician, oh my gosh, I think we are all a little bit A type and maybe a little bit perfectionist. It can be really tricky to get this stuff out of us. So I am just a person that’s like, “Do it, and here’s all the answers, and let’s get it done.”
So it’s nice to hear a little bit about that launch. Because I know people have a lot of questions about that. So that’s one of the things that we definitely worked on. I guess you’re saying you’re surprised since you were like, “Okay, all right, I gotta back up and do it a little differently.” So that’s fun.
Deciding Who to Work With
Stephanie: Is there anything else that you feel like you learned or you want to share with our audience about making that decision? Well, first of all, anything that you learned that you want to share about. I think you’ve shared a few things. Anything about if people are thinking about working with someone, or working with me in The Leveraged Practice and joining this workshop and getting the step by step walk-through? Is there anything that you would advise people when they’re making that decision or questions to ask or about your experience working with me specifically?
Charlene: You need to make sure that it’s the right match for you. And I think you have a very good point about looking for somebody who’s launched in a similar realm that you’re trying to launch. So, in this health professional realm or client focus realm, in the world of health, I think it’s different, you’re right, than a lot of the other memberships you’re gonna see, or evergreen gurus that you’re seeing. All of that.
It’s really finding that right person, that right match, that’s probably done something like you want to do. For me, Stephanie, you were an obvious choice, like I mentioned.
I think, also, when you’re thinking about launching an online program, just thinking of how it’s going to fit into your life, with your current job, or your current work situation. Kind of just looking at how many hours a week you have to set aside for this. That will help you determine how long it will take you to get this done.
You know, we ended up working, some late nights and all that. But I think next time around, it would be less of that. You’ve done it once and have a better sense of timelines, and setting up calendars. Like okay, by this date, and this date, and this date, things need to get done.
The first time around, we had no clue what that calendar might look like. Now that we’ve done it once and we also launched a second Infant Allergy, just like a one hour webinar, in the spring. But what we learned from launching the online course, the steps are the same. Whether it’s a big course or a smaller webinar, you have certain steps that you need to take. You need to do your market research, your content planning, social media planning, all that kind of stuff. And all that stuff takes time.
So really, getting that calendar set up, dropping perfectionism, doing the market research that you need to do, and finding that right person to work with it, if you’re wanting to invest that time and money into that.
Stephanie: Yeah. And ultimately, I hear you saying, you were trying to do it on your own, but you were getting stuck.
So if you’re getting stuck in your own head, you need someone to just like, push you along the way. I feel like that’s something I do very, very well. My clients will all tell you, I’m a little pushy, and I hold you accountable, and I ask you about dates, and I get you to do stuff out there. And sometimes that’s what we need.
If you don’t want me asking you when you’re going to launch and encouraging you to get it done, then you know, I’m not the right person for you. Because I want to see it happen. And I’m going to encourage people to do that. I think that’s something that I love doing and forcing people to just get it out in the world, because we get so stuck.
I know that there are so many brilliant people out there that can be teaching these online programs. And I also really know the ins and the outs of professional teaching as well as the online space and the online health education. So that’s fun to hear.
I love the time thing because people always ask that and they say like, “How much time do I really need to do this?” And if you don’t have a lot of time every week, like Charlene said, it’s going to take longer. Like if you have full time hours or a bunch of kids running around or whatever you’re doing, and you’re only putting a couple hours in every week, it’s going to take you a year to get this out. Or it’s going to take you some late nights and weekends like Charlene did. And I mean, I did it in the beginning where I worked on the weekends and things like that. So it depends how you do it.
I always say to people, if you’re doing my workshop, the workshop is eight weeks long. It’s a six week framework, and then we have some office hours in there. If you want to get to launch within those three months, you know, building it out for two months and then actually getting into the launch phase, I usually say that you need about two to three minimum working sessions in a week. So that’s blocking off like two to three hours to sit down and actually work on things.
And that could be different for each person as well. Some people might have it more together and need less time. I would definitely not block off less than two to three working sessions a week. Other people might be a little more slow or need to spend some more time doing market research and that kind of thing.
So, it’s definitely the point to create an online program when you have that space in your life, in your week to week schedule, when you’re ready to make that space to do it and commit to it and get it out in the world. Then we’re going to launch it and then we’re going to launch it again. And again.
You’re going to launch it a couple times in the year so you can keep learning, like you were saying Charlene, that you learn and you learn again, over and over again. So that is great advice.
How an Online Program Contributes to a Practice
Stephanie: So, can you tell us a little bit now about how that online program is going? Charlie launched it in February, and we’re recording this at the end of August. This is coming out as well around this time. How do you see this online program, the first one anyways, changing the way that you do your practice at all? If it does, contributing to your business?And I know this is just the start for you.
So now that you’ve done one or two, how would it affect the way that you run your business or if it affects your practice? As people are visualizing the investment of time and money and energy to do all of this, I want them to think about the future of their business and their practice, in the way that they work and how this might fit in. So can you shed any light on how you see that fitting in now that you’ve done this?
Charlene: Well, one of my goals in my business is, I love seeing my one on one clients, but I don’t want to spend all my time seeing one to one clients. I want to do some one on one and some other things. So this has allowed me to do some of that other teaching sort of element that you get to do as a dietitian, right, with your one on one clients. But it’s just in a different facet right now. So I really, really enjoyed that part of things.
I really enjoy how my private practice as a whole is sort of shifting, because of this course that was launched this year. And I definitely see it being something that we do ongoing and maybe do different courses and different webinars and who knows what, when the future takes.
From a financial aspect, it’s nice to have that extra income that wasn’t necessarily expected or planned for.
It’s also the satisfaction of actually being able to help these dietitians who we were kind of trying to help on the side all along, but never really doing a great job because we didn’t have the time or resources. And now I feel like I am able to help some of those people more so than I was in the past.
So it’s hard to say, you know, where the future will take me, but I’m definitely a bit of a serial entrepreneur. We’re always trying new things. Always wanting to shift things around and change things, tweak things, and even made me think about my, what I call my private practice, my one on one clients, like maybe I could do more online stuff, or maybe I can do more group stuff. You know, there’s some sort of repetition to what I do with these clients. So it sort of actually got me thinking about, can I transfer this into the other areas of my practice? So we’ll see what the future brings.
The Online Education Opportunity
Stephanie: As you’ve moved into this online teacher mode, because that’s what you become, you become an educator who delivers education online, do you feel like – well, I think we’re hearing you say this – you were trying to help the dietitians all along, but it wasn’t quite like getting them the results you wanted and so you put together a program. You sold the program. You showed up for people in different ways. They showed up in a different way and made space for it. And you’re kind of thinking like, “Oh, where can I use this in other places?” Do you feel like you are learning a lot about how the online education opportunity can really help us educate people, whether they’re colleagues or clients better or differently? Like what do you see how that fits in?
Charlene: I’m definitely seeing a different side of things. I hadn’t personally taken a whole lot of online courses myself, so I didn’t have a lot of comparisons. That course I took from you is one of the few that I had taken. So I’m definitely seeing lots of opportunity there.
You learn a lot about learning styles and how people like to learn, what they like and what they don’t like. Some people like recorded things, some people like live things, some people like more interaction, you know, it’s all over the place. So we try to have a combination of all of those things. And some work better than others and we’ll probably tweak that next time around.
But yeah, definitely there’s a huge opportunity there and really, really enjoyed it in the end. We got that course launched in February and it just finished in July. So we had that six months of lots of live sessions going on throughout the course. But it went really smoothly and it was really nice.
We actually felt like we got to know our students, and certain ones show up more often than others. And that’s to be expected and normal since it just depends on everyone’s schedules. And I really enjoyed that part, more so than I expected. Really getting to know your students. I wasn’t expecting to have that connection with people. Julie and I both felt that we really, really did have that.
Stephanie: Yeah, that’s so fun. And I think sometimes when we think about an online course, we’re like, “Okay, I want to make money differently. I want to maybe not do only one to one or you know, I want to change up. I have all these ideas.” Sometimes we think of it, if you’ve never been in one or you’ve never run one, as a really passive thing. But it can still be this leveraged thing where you aren’t doing lots of one to one, but it can be so satisfying. That’s what I find.
I love teaching and I love connecting with people. My business has been completely online for years. And I still get to have these relationships with people and really impact them. And I love seeing that. And I love that work. And that’s where we build in some of the features of your program.
I think a good takeaway here from what Charlene said is that you often have many different kinds of learners. And so when you build out the content of your program, one of the things to think about is the different kinds of learners. You will have to ensure that it’s not just content that you feel comfortable with like, “I don’t like to be on screens so I’m going to make voice over slide deck presentations. And that’s my online course.”
It’s not just about you, it’s actually not really about you. It’s about your learners. They’re the ones giving you money. They’re the ones that you’re serving. And so when you build out your content, even though you’re an expert, just like Charlene is, there’s ways to engage people and to engage different learners and have people be satisfied in multiple ways. So I think that’s really interesting as you build out your content, and a very good point for you, the listener, to pull away from this conversation as well. So, I think this has been great and I think it’s so useful for people to hear stories.
So if you like Charlene’s stories, send me a message. You can find me on Instagram @theleveragedpractice. You can find me at theleveragedpractice.com, if you want to hear more of these kinds of stories, or you find them helpful. It’s always good for me to know what kind of podcast episodes and content and questions and all these things are really useful for you as you think about this.
Online Program Creation Takeaways
Stephanie: Charlene, thank you so much for being here. I’m wondering, on the last note, if you have any more takeaways. I think there are quite a few takeaways in this podcast from the lessons that we’ve learned. If you’re in this place where you’re thinking about creating an online program, or you’re like where many of my clients are, or where Charlene was, where you’re kind of starting to do it on your own. Do you have any advice or any takeaway action people can do today, as they start to plan out or think about how they’re going to do this?
Charlene: Absolutely, I think a couple key things would be, look at the time that you have in your week and in your day, and figure out how many hours a week you have to devote to this. And that’ll help you decide how much time it’s going to take you to get the whole thing done.
Second of all, the market research, you can start doing that at any point in time, right? Whether you’re going to deliver this next week or next year, you can start it now. Start gathering information. Take as much time as you want. That’s something you could start tomorrow, if you want to. Just ask your colleague sitting next to you in your office or ask a question in a Facebook group or wherever it may be.
I think the third thing would be getting help if you need it, when the time is right. And looking at the perfectionism piece, and really trying to let that go as much as you can. I’ll always remember, you told me at one point Stephanie, you knew what my idea was and I was kind of keeping it on the down low, and you said, “You just gotta do this. You gotta get it out there. It’s got to get done. Someone else is going to do it, if you don’t do it soon.” When you said that, that really gave me that final kick and I was like, ‘Okay, enough is enough. Let’s get this show on the road.”
Stephanie: That’s one of my secret moves for all of you who have professional ideas. If you have an idea for a professional event that you don’t see out in the world, someone will do it, if you don’t do it. That’s the truth. And that’s one of my moves. I’ve used that before. I’ve used that a couple of times, and it gets people to do what they need to do. But it is the truth.
I don’t know if you’ve ever done this, but my husband has great ideas, great ideas. And then he’s like,, “Oh, I have this idea for this thing.” And then 12 months later someone else has done it and they’re building a company around it. I’m like, “Baby, you have great ideas. But you know, maybe you gotta take action on one of those things one of these days.”
It comes down with anything, an invention, an online program, a whatever. If you want to be first to market or if you want to, have this as part of your practice, sometimes you got to do it.
And if you need me to get on the phone with you and tell you to move your booty, then The Leveraged Practice workshop is for you. And we have enrollment open for the fall semester.
If you’re looking at your schedule, and you’re like now’s the time I want to do it. I want to launch it in January, February. Or I want to launch it, you know, even the holidays is a great time to launch a client based program. So you know, if you want me to be your coach, I can do it alongside you.
I’m so, so glad that you did join and that I was able to push you along and get it out there because we’ve had, I don’t know the exact number, but many, many people benefit already from your course and will benefit from your courses in the future. And as you heard Charlene say, it feels a little easier the second time, you know, you can see the results. And I’m sure that you’ll continue to educate professionals for years to come. And so I am so honoured to have been a little part of making you do it.
Those three takeaways were great. I just want to follow up with Charlene’s market research tip, I would just follow up with that and say, write it down. So, as you’re talking to colleagues, as you’re getting emails, like Charlene was getting emails over and over again. If you’re getting emails right now, save them in a folder in your email. If you’re asking questions in a Facebook group, if people are emailing you, all of this stuff, the actual words people are using, start saving that now into a folder.
If fall is not the right time for you, start to save that information and record it and write it down and open a spreadsheet. Or do whatever you need to do. But those are great takeaways. So thank you so much for being here and sharing your story. I appreciate it.
Charlene: Thanks so much for having me, Stephanie.
Stephanie: You’re welcome. Alright, well that concludes another episode of The Leveraged Practice Podcast. Thank you for being here. I hope that you found this helpful. And as always, you can reach out to me and let me know if you found it helpful, with other questions you have and how I can help you bring your online program out into the world.
Enrollment is now open for the fall semester. You can hop on a zoom call with me or give me a call or send an email if you have any questions. If I can help you along the way, even more than this podcast, it would be my pleasure. I will see you back here next time.