How Bethany Wrede Peterson Created Her Online Course ‘Find Your Voice’ to Help Solopreneurs Start a Podcast & Find Meaning in Their Messaging
- Course Instructor: Bethany Wrede Peterson
- Website: courses.atelierwrede.com
- Course Topic: Podcasting & Personal Brand Messaging
- Interesting Stats: Made $5k In Her First Launch
1. Who are you?
I am an interior designer turned life, podcast & personal brand messaging coach. I help solopreneurs and small business owners find their Voice to become more profitable, achieve greater meaning, and have more FUN in their work. My podcast and messaging course, “Find Your Voice” made $5000 in its first month of launch, and has reshaped my business model and lifestyle from burnout to balance (and profit!). My podcast, “ARRIVED.” is now in its third season.
2. What’s your course all about?
Find Your Voice is a self-paced 8-week podcast launch course for creative solopreneurs (and small business owners) who are either creating or reinventing their personal brand, and want to start a podcast as part of their marketing efforts. It’s also about honing that consistent personal brand messaging that can be used across a variety of channels and media platforms.
3. What makes you an expert in this field?
I lived this experience – and got RESULTS! As a podcast coach, I am able to help my students and clients find their Voice to become more profitable, banish burnout and have more FUN in their business because I first had to first do this for myself. I distilled my experience launching my own pod down into an easy to follow, super fun! – and fully scaleable – eight-week course.
4. What is the transformation your course offers to the students?
I promise my students on Day 1 of the course that if they follow along consistently for the eight weeks, and put in ALL the work, they WILL find their voice. They will be more confident in their messaging strategy, and they will have their podcast launched with the first five episodes.
5. Which market does your online course serve and how did you get into it?
I work with creative solopreneurs and small business owners, because I’m a creative solopreneur myself.
Originally an interior designer, I founded my company, Atelier Wrede, in early 2019 as an online design consultancy to help successful single men find their voice and live more authentically at home and in their relationships. I launched my own podcast, ARRIVED in late 2019 to speak directly to these gentlemen, and help my personal brand gain exposure. I had been a DJ at my college radio station, and have always loved this medium. It’s probably why I chose podcasting over a blog or a YouTube channel.
For months before my launch, I Googled, YouTubed, and bootstrapped nearly every aspect of the launch of my own pod. I couldn’t afford to pay an editing service to walk me through/do for me the intensive launch process. Equally, I procrastinated on nearly every aspect of the launch. That’s because I lacked confidence in my own voice, literally and figuratively.
About four months after I finally launched ARRIVED, a peer in my business coaching group approached me about working with him one-to-one to help him launch his own podcast and find his voice in his personal brand. I initially turned him down. I had basically cobbled together my pod and my core messaging. In my estimation, I wasn’t exactly an authority on podcasting or personal brand messaging, and imposter syndrome hit hard.
But, I had received many five star reviews, and many compliments from peers on my pod’s professional sound quality, the content I was creating for it, and the quality and curation of guests I’d invited onto the show.
When COVID hit the States, my design business dried up. Faced with this uncertain challenge, (and finally realizing that my experience DIYing my own pod could help others save time, money, and take the frustration out of launching a pod – and that in launching my own pod, I found my own voice) I took my peer up on his request.
I firstly devised a 3-part Podcast Launch Strategy Day to help solopreneurs just like me pivot and continue to reach their customers during quarantine – all from the comfort of their own homes.
6. Why is it important to you to serve this market?
This is a group of my peers. Solopreneurs (and very small business owners) face unique challenges that larger or more established businesses don’t. It’s important for me to be able to help my niche develop the confidence to promote themselves, find meaning in their work and be profitable while doing it.
7. Describe the moment when you decided to create your own course. Where were you, what happened and why did you decide to do it?
I only needed to work with one client to realize that teaching the same technical and tactical content (e.g., which recording equipment to buy; which software to use; how to get the pod onto all the major platforms, etc) over and over to clients was not only exhausting but not the best use of our one-to-one messaging strategy time. I thought I could just send links and instructions via email. But in attempting this, I soon remembered how many steps are involved in the creation of a pod. Logistically, emailing students/clients wasn’t an effective or convenient way to deliver this part of my service.
It was then that I had the idea to create a private, 8-week video course, only as an addendum to the Strategy Day.
In laying out the original syllabus, however, I remembered that many solopreneurs will be in the same position I was when I wanted to start a pod, and wouldn’t have the funds to invest in working with me one-to-one. So, I realized that it would be more strategic to create this course as a stand-alone, lower touch offer on my value ladder of services.
So, that’s how to Find Your Voice came to really be a course in personal brand messaging, confidence-building, and mindset, as well as a tactical podcast launch course. Students can still engage in self-study on the messaging of their brand, through the course, even if they’re not working with me directly.
8. How did you overcome doubtful moments during your course creation journey?
When you’re in creation mode, it’s easy to wonder “Am I doing this right? Is this really of value? Are people going to get sick of seeing me on these videos every day for two months?!”
There are so many strong women personal brands out there (Jenna Kutcher, Marie Forleo, Rachel Hollis, Melyssa Griffin, Brooke Castillo) – all of whom have insanely successful podcasts, and all of whom work to bolster small business owners. Some days I think the market is just saturated – what value could I bring that’s even a fraction of what these amazing women don’t already offer in spades? But I kept going because I love what I do so much, and because I realized that I’m offering something a bit different from what everyone else is.
9. What are some of your tricks to deal with imposter syndrome?
I’ve come to realize that indulging in imposter syndrome or playing the comparison game with those who are more successful or more established than me is really only breaking a circle of positive, abundant energy, so to speak. And that doesn’t help anyone out. Keeping my focus on my clients and serving THEM is now always my number one priority. When I have a wobble, I remember that they are choosing to work with me over anyone else because I have a unique voice, a unique story and a unique investment of experience that speaks to them.
10. How long did it take you to create your course?
Longer than I thought, I’ll say that much! I created one week’s worth of videos and then started selling it. I decided that when my first student bought the course I’d finish the other seven weeks worth of lessons. All in, it’s taken me probably near four months, as I wanted to get really clear on what I was creating and the execution of it.
11. How did your first launch go?
I didn’t really have an official launch – it was very much word of mouth and I had an ‘open cart’ (buy anytime) system. I sold $5000 with little strategy, so while it wasn’t a great deal at first, it helped me realize I was onto something good.
12. How do you structure your launches in general now?
I have since moved to a ‘closed cart’ system (I only allow students into the course once a quarter now, and operate a wait list between course openings) to build urgency and attract students that truly want results
13. Where does your traffic come from?
I get a lot of traffic from my business coaching group, surprisingly. I also have started running webinars to drive traffic, and of course, there is a sponsored spot in my own pod for my course. I also guest on business pods, to promote the course and drive traffic to the course.
14. Which content do you like producing the most?
Podcasts, of course!
15. What online course platform are you using?
I’d rather not say as I’ve had a bad experience with my platform as of late and don’t wish to steer students their way.
16. What is amazing about this platform?
17. Which features do you wish this platform would have?
18. Why did you choose this platform over other platforms?
19. Which other tools do you use to keep your online business running?
I recorded the lessons in Zoom, because of the ease and functionality: e.g., you can easily share your screen, with a thumbnail video of yourself or not. Loom and Quicktime were too clunky for me.
I use my podcast mic, my Audio Technica ATR2100 for the sound quality on a boom arm stand. A “UBeeSize 10” ring light for lighting. The ‘Touch Up My Appearance’ feature in Zoom is incredible. It really smoothes out your skin, especially if you don’t have access to true professional studio lighting and cameras to shoot your videos. I use Quicktime to edit out bloopers of my video lessons.
I use Canva for slide and audiogram creation, and Apple Keynote to present the slides while recording in Zoom. And I use Acuity for scheduling and billing Strategy Day clients. Acuity also sends automated reminders and follow-up emails. I’ve linked my Stripe account to both my course platform and Acuity, so it’s super easy to receive payments.
20. How many students have you served so far?
About 60 course students and 10 one-to-one Strategy Day clients.
21. How much revenue have you created during your first launch, and ongoing?
First launch I made $5k; am now on track to make six figures by mid-2021.
22. What are you running costs to keep the online course business going?
About $1500 annual alone for my course platform. This does not include other aspects of my business, credit card processing fees, etc.
23. What are some of the biggest mistakes you made along the way?
Not selling my course every day – as in, not promoting and marketing it every day. Selling used to be uncomfortable for me. So was “taking” other people’s money, even though intellectually I knew I’m bringing them real value. The value comes in the form of saved time, money, headache, frustration, and helping them to build their business identity as well as get their podcast launched.
It was easy for me to hide behind course creation, or waste hours making course slides or a sales page that aims to look perfect.
24. How has your business changed since implementing an online course into the business model?
As an interior designer, I was burned out: projects were ‘feast or famine’, and none of my work was scalable, let alone profitable. Since creating my podcast “ARRIVED”, and my podcast course, “Find Your Voice”, I’ve reinvigorated and reshaped my career; found MY Voice, and overhauled my business model – to great financial gain (and much more free time!).
25. How has your personal life changed?
I have more confidence in my ability to make solid money now – I don’t have so many self-doubts anymore because I’ve proven to myself that I can make money and help people AND feel energized doing it.
26. What’s the greatest transformational story you can tell about one (or more) of your students?
My student, Susan, a London-based interior designer, had a “life-changing experience” (her words) after working with me. She was seriously stuck with where she was headed in her business, and felt “useless”. After many years in design, Susan had lost her true north and could not move forward. She knew she had to dig deeper within herself to find direction – to find her Voice – but couldn’t do it on her own.
When Susan and I worked together, I asked her to dig deep, and really look inside herself to find that Voice she had been stifling for so long. After our second session together, something clicked for Susan and she came up with her brand’s pillars and her WHY. She also story-boarded the first five episodes of her new pod.
After our work together, Susan felt liberated, empowered and was able to move forward in her business and in her personal brand’s messaging once more, because our work together had realigned her direction and brought her unique story to the fore.
Another client and student, Lynne, a meditation course creator, initially reached out to me because she struggled with the sound and technical aspect of creating her meditations. But we soon realized it was Lynne’s mindset – not her recording equipment – that was keeping her stuck.
In our work together, Lynne was able to fine-tune her marketing, her marketing messaging, and become so much more clear and confident about what she was trying to say in her business. Suddenly, Lynne had the makings of a podcast in her head, and is now launching her podcast, “In Her Eyes” in spring 2021.
27. If you could use a time machine and send yourself back to the time before you started out, what advice would you give yourself, knowing what you know now?
When that inner voice speaks to you and tells you something’s not right – listen to it! Whether it’s as macro as burnout in your career, or as micro as your niche or content strategy feeling off, your intuition deserves to be heard and other options explored.
28. What is your million dollar piece of advice to those who are just getting started in their online course journey?
Don’t get bogged down with the creation or completion as first priority: focus on PRE-SELLING it before CREATING it, especially if it’s a longer course that requires months of effort. Obtain proof of concept first (aka those first few pre-sales) and then start creating the course. And don’t worry if your first launch is a flop! Most course creators first launch is slow, but we learn with each launch, and iterate.
In general, you cannot have a Field of Dreams mentality where “if you build it, they will come”. We are not Kevin Costner, and nothing sells itself. If no one knows your course exists because you’re not promoting it every day, whether on socials, ads, in people’s inbox, guesting on pods, being interviewed, running webinars, and generally shouting from the rooftops, you won’t make any money! Selling isn’t automatically pushy or rude, it’s simply letting others know that you have a product (or service) that can truly HELP them.
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