How to dramatically increase your income with course product packages
Since the dawn of the industrial revolution, we have as a collective society become accustomed to exchanging our time for money.
The old hourly rate. I give you an hour of my time and you pay a fixed fee for it. Doesn’t sound so bad, does it? But the truth is that charging by the hour is one of the fastest ways to ‘burn out’ or go broke if you are a business owner.
In this article, I share some practical tips for creating packages as your business offerings, instead of hourly rates, to dramatically increase your financial transaction value.
Let’s get more money
There are only so many hours in a day, so charging by the hour means that even if you completely suffocate your days with work (leaving time for nothing else), you are totally limiting what you can earn and will soon find other critical business tasks falling behind.
It doesn’t have to be like that.
The rich get rich because they rarely charge by the hour and instead, create packages and ‘offer stacks’ that increase the value of the exchange – and the size of the financial exchange.
I remember when I was still working by the hour in business. In 2013 I had won a number of hugely significant corporate and Federal Government training and curriculum design contracts.
At first, I was feeling very pleased with myself. BUT, I soon found myself with some serious problems.
I had calculated my expenses (and my tenders), on the estimated number of hours it would take my staff and I to meet the contractual outcomes – RATHER than offering them their desired solution for an overall package fee.
Soon, it was ‘us against the clock’, and at the end of each month, I was always panicking about whether or not my team and I had managed to meet our outputs within the approved hourly rate budget.
Horrifically, on some occasions, we didn’t, and I was left in DEFICIT rather than profit after working every hour there was. A multi-million dollar contract that left me OUT of pocket, rather than popping the champagne. Yea, that sucked.
I never made the mistake of quoting by the hour again though.
Then one day something crazy happened…
Alongside those contracts running, I also had my public course creation services. One day, a client booked to come to my office for a couple of hours appointment to get my help with drafting out her course plan. And two days before her session she gave me a call.
“Hey Sarah, I don’t suppose that whilst I am there, you could help me set up my online school too, could you? I don’t mind paying you the extra hour for it.”
Sure! I obediently replied.
“Oh, and also my email automation sequences? That won’t take much longer will it?”
“I reckon we can squeeze that in too, yes” I gritted my teeth thinking it was going to be a late session.
“Oh, and one more thing, while I’m there, any chance I could stay a little later and use your filming studio too? I just need everything set-up and it would be great to get it all done in a day. So that will be six hours instead of two, right?”
I was just calculating the extra number of hours in my head to give her the price for 4 more hours of my time, when I remembered my lesson from my corporate contracts.
This was worth far more than a couple of hours of consulting; what she was asking for was a stack of services.
My mind quickly went into overdrive thinking about what the average cost of an experienced email sequence developer, a qualified educators and curriculum designer and a full afternoon studio hire would cost and created an instant package.
What I was going to do for her would have cost her thousands if she went to different providers.
“Yes, of course, I can. That will be my ‘1 Day Course Creation Set-Up Package’. It’s one set price for the whole package and we get the lot done before you leave – including your online school”.
It was more than triple what my ‘hourly rate’ would have been (but still only a FRACTION of the cost of going to lots of different providers).
I waited hesitantly.
You won’t believe what happened next
“Sure!” she excitedly exclaimed. “that sounds like an incredible package! Can’t wait!! See you on Friday!”
Wow. If I’d charged by the hour at my rate back then, I would have got $1,000 for that full day of work as a qualified education professional. Instead, I got a lot more by selling my expertise as a ‘package’ instead of an hourly hire.
That’s some pay rise.
I quickly created a package information page, and years later, my ‘Full Course Creation Set-Up Service’ is still one of my most popular course creation packages.
Never create a course in isolation from your business
Getting your business model right with online courses is one of the very first steps. If you just randomly create an online course without thinking about how it is going to fit in with your other products and services, you could end up wasting your time, and certainly will not reap all of the benefits that a carefully crafted upsell strategy will give you.
The most successful business owners have thought about the journey that their customers will go on, from the free lead magnet right the way through to their highest paid product or service; then deliberately design a sequence of touch points and interactions that drive the customer through that process.
In your course creation business, you should have a free lead magnet mini course to build your list, then a low priced self-study course (which I call the Kickstarter).
Then, depending on your own preference and business model you could lead them to your authority flagship course, up to coaching programs, a membership academy and onto immersion and done for you experiences.
When you plan for this before you create your courses, your business growth potential multiplies dramatically.
Increasing your profit with packages and offer stacks
An ‘offer stack’ is simply combining together many different products so as to increase both the perceived and actual value of an offer you are making.
For example, instead of just selling an online course, you could throw in an eBook, a checklist, a months membership to your academy, a group coaching call access, a software deal or free trial, other peoples free products etc. Now your offer is worth way more money and everyone is a winner.
The bad way of product packaging
There is a good way and a not so good way of packaging up your offerings. Here is an example of the bad way.
I see too many coaches and consultants who think that ‘packaging’ their products means just bulking together an hourly paid service, like this:
- Package 1: 1 x consult session = $150
- Package 2: 3 x consult sessions = $450 (Minus a 20% discount)
- Package 3: 10 x consult sessions = $1,500 (Minus a 30% discount)
All this does is make you have to work more hours, devalue your service the more it is ordered by applying a ‘bulk purchase discount’, as well as make your customer face an obvious objection every time.
The example above is essentially an hourly rate.
Therefore, if your client does not make the same amount of money per hour, they see it is ‘expensive’ or ‘a rip off’, because they will immediately compare it to their own income and make a judgement based on that as to whether it is a fair exchange.
Invariably, they’ll decide it’s not a fair exchange purely because of a halting disparity between ‘what they get per hour’ vs ‘what you’re asking for per hour’.
This is an instantaneous way to undersell yourself, over work yourself and completely upset your potential customer all at the same time.
Don’t exchange your time for money in an hourly fashion, or you’ll be trapped by the hours on the clock, along with your income.
This example shows that even in the best case scenario, the highest exchange this edupreneur will get is $1,500 minus a 30% discount for 10 hours of their life.
With 2,084 working hours in the average working year, the maximum this edupreneur could ever earn by working relentlessly (literally exchanging their entire life and never having time to do anything else in their business) is $150 an hour, and $307,200 a year.
Of course, this is a figure that might be a dream come true to many – so please look at the lesson of this example, and not the figures being used in it to get the real message here.
“A package that consists of an hourly rate exchange for your time, results in you receiving a capped income and living like a slave to the clock.“
So what should you do instead? Read on to find out.
How to create a package or offer stack
The most profitable and efficient way to create a ‘package’ in your offerings is to first do an ‘asset stock take’. That is, writing down EVERYTHING you have ever created or could easily create – particularly digitally. Here are some ideas:
- Online courses
- Facebook groups
- A done-for-you service
Stack from other people’s shelves
Then, think about other things that will complement your offerings and what other people might give you for free to add to your offer stack/package. As a real example, I was once helping a divorce attorney client to move away from charging by the hour, to creating packages instead.
“What do you think a stressed out woman going through a divorce would love right now, other than your legal advice?” I asked her.
“A checklist of what to do next so that she doesn’t have to think?” she suggested.
“Great! But I reckon she’d prefer a day at the spa even more…” I winked.
Soon my client, a legal advisory service provider, had gone to all of the local hair salons, spas, gyms, nail bars etc and gathered up discount vouchers from them all.
I encouraged her to reach out to anxiety and stress specialists to get free eBooks or eCourses from them to add to their stacks.
Those experts were delighted to – because it gave them exposure to a new audience. These added another $1,500+ worth of value to her consults. She went from $1,000 a day, to over $8,000 a day within a couple of weeks of her consult with me; simply by offer-stacking packages instead of charging by the hour.
Never have more than three packages
After listing out every individual income generating product, service asset and offering you have, as well as those that you can get from other people, the next step is to find ways of ‘bundling’ selections of these into ‘packages’.
Having two or three package offerings can be great for giving your customers a sense of personalisation, but restricted enough so that you can systemise and automate as much of the development, onboarding and delivery as possible.
But never have more than three options – also known as the triplicate of choice.
Having too many options causes ‘choice overload’, a cognitive process by which too many decisions stop that consumer from being able to make any at all.
When it comes to creating your offerings you want to aim for the highest level of value and profitability. This means that you need to aim to move as much away from a literal exchange of your own time-for-money as you possibly can, and instead add value with digital offerings.
As an example, I have my ‘Concept To Course’ 30 day Course Creation Group Coaching Program. Instead of JUST selling it as a training course, I have created three packages of highly valuable bundled offerings; so that my students get WAY more than just a course.
Bundling products together increases what the program alone is worth, and makes every student feel like they have got way more than their monies worth.
Here is one of my old package tables to give you some ideas as to how easy it can be to massively increase the value of your offering by offer stacking your packages:
The right way to design your packages
Successful businesses have carefully planned packages. Ones that increase the value, increase the price, remove any sight of an ‘hourly rate’ and simultaneously decrease the amount of work required to deliver it, thus making a happier customer and a happier bank balance.
Instead of offering your hours, you have to offer them no-brainer value. You have to combine a number of products, services and outcomes together so that the brains of your customers can ONLY think ‘Whoa! Look how much I get in exchange for that amount of money!’, instead of ‘is one hour worth that much money?’.
Below I am going to give you an example of a good way to offer stack with some pretend prices so that you can get the most benefit from this example.
First let’s go back to the example we used in the ‘bad package’ example, and remind ourselves that a consult session in that ‘bad’ example was $150 per hour.
Now, let’s pretend that this person read this article and realised that they actually had some other products that they could combine to create some ‘profitable packages’.
Here’s what they could do:
|Package 1||Package 2||`|
|Value: $303||Value: $1,248||Value: $7,625|
|You pay: $247||You pay: $997||You pay: $1,997|
|Online course (value $97)||2 x Online courses (value $197)||Everything in Package 1 and 2 (value $1,248)|
|eBook (value $9.99)||eBook (value $9.99)||Signed copy of my print book (value $30)|
|1 hour one on one consult (value $150)||2 hour one on one consult (value $300)||Lifetime access to my entire online academy (value $5,000)|
|Checklist (value $47)||2 x Checklists (value $97)||Lifetime access to private Facebook group (value $997)|
|Cheat sheet (value $47)||A cake (value $50)|
|We do xxx service for you (value $597)||3 months free trial on xxx software ($300 value)|
Everyone must be a winner
Let’s look a little deeper at what’s going on here. The primary focus of this packaging methodology is to increase our income potential, increase the value and make the client feel like they are getting a massive deal while we are at it.
In essence, everyone needs to be a winner.
In package 1:
- The client is getting $303 worth of goods for only $247.
- You are getting $247 for just 1 hour of your time (doubling your hourly rate).
- This increases your gross annual income potential to $505,856.
In package 2:
- The client is getting $1,248 worth of goods for only $997.
- You are getting $997 for only 2 hours of your time and a little of your team’s to deliver the service (which may even be automated). You have now increased your hourly rate to $498.50 per hour.
- This increases your gross annual income potential to $1,020,928.
In package 3:
- The client is getting $7,625 worth of goods for only $1,997.
- You are getting $1,997 for only 2 hours of your time. You have now increased your hourly rate to $998.50 per hour.
- This increases your gross annual income potential to $2,044,928.
Now how does that $307,000 look?!
Can you see how dramatically edupreneur product packaging and offer stacking can change your entire life and business?
Of course, this is a made up example just to get the point across, but can you see how now the decision making process that your customer is going through is about comparing how much stuff they get in each package, instead of whether they think an hour is worth a certain amount of money.
“When you package your products, your customer’s decision is no longer ‘should I buy this?’, but is instead ‘which one should I buy?’… BIG difference…”
Design your own edupreneur product packages
Now go back to your list of income generating products and services and ask yourself how you could combine them together to significantly increase the value, price and profitability of your offerings.
After 10 years of being in this industry, and being post-graduate qualified in teacher training and curriculum design, Sarah Cordiner has created a suite of online courses tailored specifically for online course creators that include ALL of the above essential learning criteria and more.
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