ep018: Transition from Selling Sessions to Designing Programs: Practitioners Share their Success


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This podcast episode was prompted by a student in the Business Revolution Academy who was in the process of designing her first program. She asked: can I hear some more examples of the programs other practitioners have created? 

So I reached out to 3 graduates of the Business Revolution Academy, people who graduated a year or more ago, to share their programs here on the podcast. And because I also get asked quite a lot about how to make the transition from selling sessions or classes to offering programs for more sustainable sales –  I also asked these practitioners to share what that transition was like for them. 

First up we hear from occupational therapists Peter and Lynn. They share with us how their framework allows them to tailor their programs to their client’s individual needs.

Next we hear from Chris, a structural integration practitioner that uses hands-on bodywork and neuroscience to help his clients get pain-free. The programmatic approach has resulted in his clients taking ownership of the work, and now Chris has become the type of practitioner he’s always wanted to be.

Lastly we hear from Talia,  who helps foster literacy and resiliency in children with a program that involves both children and their parents. Her business model included programs from the beginning, and she believes it’s one of the reasons her business is so successful. She explains how even though her clients might want one thing, her program instead focuses on what they need. This has resulted in happier, healthier family dynamics and literate children who believe in themselves.

All three of these businesses are using programs to serve their clients more powerfully and to provide consistent revenue at the same time.

I hope this episode gets the juices flowing for you to create your first program, or perhaps to revise and optimize a program you’ve already got.

In this episode of the Business (R)Evolution Podcast:

  • How clients respond to programs
  • How frameworks can shift the way you approach business
  • The benefits a program offers both clients and a business owner
  • The role of maintenance sessions after a program ends

Resources and links Joanna mentions in this episode:

Joanna Sapir is a business strategist and coach helping innovative wellness practitioners build more profitable and sustainable businesses. She's on a mission to build a movement of people creating a new vision and reality for our future as humans on earth.

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Full episode transcript

[JOANNA SAPIR] (00:01):
This podcast episode was prompted by a student in the Business (R)Evolution Academy, who was in the process of designing her first program. She asked me, “Can I hear some more examples of the programs other practitioners have created?” So I reached out to three graduates of the Business (R)Evolution Academy, people who graduated a year or more ago to come onto the podcast and share their programs. Because I also get asked quite a lot about how to make the transition from selling sessions or classes to offering programs, I also ask them to share what that transition was like for them. I hope this episode gets the juices flowing for you to create your first program, or perhaps to revise and optimize a program you’ve already got.

Welcome to the Business (R)Evolution Podcast, where practitioners and coaches that provide services in health, wellness, and education, come to learn the business side of things like marketing, pricing, hiring, finances, all the things you need to streamline and organize your business, create steady and predictable income, serve your clients even more deeply and reach your full potential as a business owner. If you are a skilled, experienced practitioner of your craft that has or wants to have a profitable and sustainable business doing the work you love, you’re in the right place. I’m so glad you’re here. Let’s get into this episode.

If you’re new to the podcast, welcome and if you’re a regular listener, welcome back. This episode is a follow up to season one, episode four, which was called Stop Selling Sessions and Start Creating Programs. If you haven’t listened to that episode, I’ll link to it in the show notes on my website, and I strongly suggest that you listen to that, either before this one or after it. In that episode, I share how creating programs serves your clients more deeply and powerfully and helps them get profoundly better results, how programs build stronger relationships with clients, how they create predictable monthly revenue in your business, and how programs provide you a deep sense of fulfillment that you’re truly living your purpose.

You design your program or programs based on what you believe your people really need to solve their problems to achieve their goals or experience what they want to be experiencing. In the Business (R)Evolution Academy, we call this the ultimate result. So the question to ask yourself is how can you design your services to provide your ideal clients the ultimate results they seek? So now we get to hear from three businesses. One is a married couple, so there’s actually four practitioners, but three businesses. We get to hear from them about the programs they created to help their clients achieve the ultimate results.

[JOANNA] (03:23):
The first folks I’m going to introduce you to are Peter and Lynn Bennett, the owners of Play for Real Therapy, which is a pediatric occupational therapy clinic that they own. They highlight in this interview just how powerful their framework has been for creating programs, which I love hearing. So if you don’t know what Peter’s talking about when he mentions the framework, I did a whole episode on frameworks, and it’s called The Magic Tool to Differentiate Your Services from Everyone Else. I will of course link to that in the show notes on my website. These frameworks we create in the Business (R)Evolution Academy are incredibly powerful for wellness practitioners, and Peter really highlights that when he talks about how they use their framework to create customized programs for their clients. Okay, let’s hear from Peter and Lynn.

[LYNN BENNET] (04:13):
Hi, we’re Peter and Lynn, and we are both occupational therapists. So for us, developing our programmed for packages has been in many ways liberating and very, very fulfilling. It has been, and it still is a gradual process as we move away from insurance clients into developing packages, but every package that we have done so far has been such a rewarding experience for us all. We have like an overall process and format for the packages, which definitely going through your program, Joanna helped us to really hone in on developing that. With our ideas that we had previously from when we wanted to do packages, it really all came together beautifully for us. So we have, like I said, an overall process, an overall format for what each packet is going to look like but what has been wonderful is that within that we’ve been able to adapt that basic format to meet the needs for each particular family that we are working with.

Of course, they’re all a little bit different. For example, we had one family where the many of the child’s problems were in their preschool, so we were able to say, okay, well we’ll go in and we’ll do some of the sessions in the preschool. It’s given us the opportunity to do things that we wouldn’t be able to do if it was all covered by insurance. For example, we can have a meeting with just the parents without the child there, which can be very helpful. If we were going through insurance, that would not be covered but if it’s part of the package and our hours that we’ve designed to go into a package, then we can do that effectively and we’re getting paid for that point as well.

[JOANNA] (06:13):
That is so beautiful that you’re able to do something like go into the child’s school. You bring up something I think is really important for other practitioners to hear. Sometimes when I’m teaching a workshop and practitioners understand what it might be like to design a program, they worry that, well, individual clients have individual needs and it’s not, I can’t make a cookie-cutter approach that everybody gets the same thing because they have different needs but I hear you talking about how you’ve created a container within which you get to customize based on their needs and who’s coming to you, right?

[PETER BENNET] (06:57):
Absolutely. We have a framework, as Lynn was saying, and we follow that framework for all of our packages, but within that we can customize it as needed; so length of time where we do therapy, the amount of time we spend with parents, whether we use video or not, all of those things we can decide on an as needed basis. It really, it’s made, we love our packages, they really are making a difference to our lives and when we finish a package, it’s like, yep, this is how we want to be doing business. Yes, we’re very happy with it.

From an administrative point of view, it’s also been helpful because there’s a lot less paperwork, there’s a lot less hoops to jump through. We get paid in advance rather than several months in arrears, if at all and what we do is when that money comes in, that lump sum of money, we portion it out over the length of time that the package is going to last. So if it’s three months, we split it into three and then we allow that into our budget as it becomes available. That’s working really well. As to how we developed our framework that was part of your business academy and I think it would be fair to say that it was quite a difficult birthing process.

Initially, we weren’t quite sure what we were doing, and we tried, we came up with one formula and we thought, yep, this is what we are looking for. Then after a while, Lynn and I were talking and it was like, no, no, this isn’t right, really. I don’t quite know when it happened, but one day it was just like, we’re having one of our many, many businesses on the business discussions and we got really quite animated and we started going down a particular road and it was like, yes, this is it. This is what we do. For the first time ever we were able to write this down, clearly this is the process that we go through, and now it’s a bit like a bedrock that we hang all of our programs and packages on. So it was tough initially, especially when you see other people all seeming to make more progress or whatever. But I would say, hang on in, because this has really been very fundamental to the shift in our business practice.

[LYNN] (09:50):
The feedback that we’ve had has just been phenomenal, I think. We’ve put a lot of focus on helping parents to learn what to do with their children. So their confidence to move forward once the package is finished is, yes, it’s grown so much and we’ve had so many wonderful positive feedback. We have also had where somebody’s finished a package and recommended it to somebody else as well. So the kids always love coming to therapy anyway, but the parents have really, really gained so much from it and it is so rewarding for us as well to see them growing being able to work out what they need to do with their child to help them not just sort of rely on somebody else. So yes, it’s been very rewarding all around. I think I often go home after I’ve seen a family and I’ll say to Pete, “Ah, this is great. This is what we’re meant to be doing. This is it.”

[JOANNA] (10:51):
Oh my goodness. I mean, that’s what really lights me up. That’s just so beautiful. So once your families finish this initial package, you call it, I usually call it a program, are there ongoing options for them? Has that, have you developed that or do they need ongoing options that are ongoing services? Tell me about what it’s been like as people graduate from the initial program that you developed for them.

[LYNN] (11:19):
Once the package is finished, we do have some different options available with, I think that’s something we’re still working on, how to really sort of formalize that. But we’ve developed a few different options. So far everybody has gained so much that they haven’t immediately gone on to doing anything else. They’ve got enough to be moving forward. But I’ve recently been in contact with a couple of families that finished one within the last three months, one within the last six months who are saying, we are at a point now where we need a little bit more input.

So we really still need to work on devising, whether that’s what formats that’s going to take in terms of a follow-up package. But that does seem to be the pattern of a little bit of time where they’re up and running on their own, but then wanting to come back for some more, which would probably be shorter term because they’ve got a lot of the foundations of what we’ve been working on. But as the kids grow and develop, the needs are different, so yes. And also it’s lovely, we do get regular emails from some of the families telling us how things are going and they’ve been following up on perhaps some of the educational material we gave them, how the kids are doing that, that thing is great.

[JOANNA] (12:38):
How neat. So what you’re doing, I just want to say what you’re doing is perfect, is you’re looking at the data and seeing as people finish. Oh, they seem to be taking this amount of time and then really looking at what would be the next step for them. Over time that’s going to become more and more clear to you. Like after three months, they get a three month, you might even build it into part of your consultation process where usually families take about three months to integrate everything they’ve learned and then when they’re ready for more, they come back for the next layer. Or the next level thing. That’s neat that you’re watching that and observing and then you’ll be able to develop what they need next? Okay, that was awesome to hear about. I’ll put more info about Peter and Lynn Bennett and play for real therapy, including a link to their website in the show notes.

[JOANNA] (13:34):
Next step we have Chris Corrales Chris is a body worker in the San Francisco Bay area who combines structural integration, neuroscience and coaching to help athletic people get to the root cause of physical pains they’re experiencing and to change the patterns that are creating that pain in the first place. One of the questions I ask him to explain is how a three-month weekly program is different from simply selling a pack of 12 sessions, because I want you all to hear that’s not the same thing. A pack of 12 sessions is not the same thing as a weekly program over three months. So he’s going to share his program with us. Let’s hear from Chris.

[CHRIS] (14:18):
So my name is Chris Corrales. I live in the San Francisco Bay area. Simply put, I help people out of pain. I do that mostly through hands-on work. It’s different than massage, but I also help them with a deeper underlying, under a deeper understanding of the underlying causes. So I really want them, people to understand their patterns. Those could be physical, mentally emotional, they could have roots in history. Then we also do movement. So that’s the basis of it. It’s there’s hands-on body work and then neuroscience.

[JOANNA] (15:00):
Great. So you’ve been in business for 25 years or something, right? Before implementing programs, how were you offering your services? What was that like?

[CHRIS] (15:13):
It was pretty painful. It was, I guess I modeled myself after massage therapists basically. That’s what I knew. My colleagues typically do the same, even though we were different in structural integration, typically, or I should say traditionally we’re known to do sort of a 10-session series with people. But still, I think for us as practitioners, and I can speak for myself in particular, it was always hard to convey the importance behind the 10 sessions. However, some people would just buy the 10 sessions because people buy 10-session packages of massage or the reasons behind it weren’t manifesting from my authentic reasoning, I guess.

[JOANNA] (16:09):
How do you offer your services now? What do your programs look like?

[CHRIS] (16:14):
My programs now are based on an assessment that we do. They come in for an assessment first because I really want to understand what I’m working with. I want to have a holistic perspective of what’s going on, and they want them to understand that it’s deeper than they might have understood. Before I used to just do work. I used to chase a lot of symptoms. I used to follow the typical protocol for structural integration. Now it’s much more client centric and it’s based on evidence that we pick up in that assessment session, that initial assessment session.

[JOANNA] (16:56):
What’s a program look like for somebody that comes to you in pain? What are they enrolling in with you? What’s the length, what’s the process, how’s it go?

[CHRIS] (17:06):
The length is typically three months. That’s the amount of time that it takes for us to really lay the foundation for lasting results. They usually come in once a week. If we need, if I absolutely need to see them more than that, I’m open to it. I will invite them in for another session because my goal isn’t to do sessions, it’s to get great results. So I allow for that and that works really well. Before it was only about sessions, and again, I just ended up chasing symptoms.

[JOANNA] (17:44):
What makes your initial three months different if it’s weekly than a pack of 12 sessions?

[CHRIS] (17:52):
Pack of 12 sessions, usually people, they didn’t understand the reasons behind what I was doing, so it would just turn into fix this chase this symptom, work on this today. Now it’s not always about work on this problem today. It’s about how can we set ourselves up to get good results down the line? When people understand their pattern, because that’s essentially what we’re working with, when they understand their pattern, then they can see that, okay, today the session might look like this. Might not be what I feel like I want, but it will help me to achieve the goals, the end goal’s a lot more with a lot better outcomes.

[JOANNA] (18:46):
So what’s been the difference between the old way and the new way for your clients, for you, the practitioner and for your business?

[CHRIS] (18:56):
100% different. How do I say this? So in terms of the old way, chasing symptoms, not helping them along in the understanding and the process, I didn’t lay out expectations so well, I didn’t lay out what the process would look like. Now that’s more clear. I didn’t understand how to give them the information that they needed outside of the office while they were in process. Now the three months, they’re more able to interact with their pain and discomfort outside of my office and have sovereignty over their bodies. Before they just completely depended on me and they were always waiting almost in an anxious way for the next session.

Now it’s much more about coaching them in life so that they take on the agency that they need to really overcome the pain. It’s a different process. I hand over a lot of the work to them, but they appreciate that more because they know, oh, now it seems like I need to do that stretching work that we talked about. Ah, now this seems like a moment where they understand their pain better. They understand that they’re, it’s their body communicating with them. Before they were always looking towards the next session to be fixed. Now they’re more in the process and I get better results, no doubt, 100%.

[JOANNA] (20:35):
Are there people that you feel after the initial three months need some continuing maintenance work or continuing work period and if so, what happens with clients after that period? Or is there, do you have an ongoing piece that you offer?

[CHRIS] (20:54):
I have Ascension programs and a lot of people will see and know that they need to continue on. They know that continuing on would be helpful but before it was sort of again, sort of, oh you can buy this package of sessions and it would, I think the way that it came across was like, oh, here’s another package of sessions and I get a discount. Now it’s like, oh, this is what we’re working towards. We’re working, I’m in this program where I’m working towards and I can see and feel clear results of why this program was recommended to me. That’s the difference.

[JOANNA] (21:40):
I know a lot of practitioners are excited by the idea of creating programs that really provide these results for their clients. They fear what the transition will be like for their business. So do you have anything to share about making the change? Was it hard? How’d it go? how was it for you?

[CHRIS] (22:02):
Yes, I had internal struggles about it, like I have internal struggles about the cost of my offerings and things like that. I had an internal struggle about, mmh does this sound like a sales pitch? Or I don’t know if I can present that to them because I would say how to be authentic, but it’s more than being authentic. It’s being authentic based on evidence. Like, hey, these are the things that we accomplish this in this program. These are the things that we still need to work on. This is the program that I would recommend. So it wasn’t something I needed to sell. It was like, that makes sense and they got that and they’re like when they get it, when they want to do it, when they see the results and when they see that they need more work and I’m being honest and that they’re getting what they didn’t anywhere else, then it’s like, oh, okay, I can offer this. So it became easier to offer when it was authentic to me. I would say that like from the beginning, offering packages, discounted packages, those things weren’t even authentic to me. Those were just things that I did because that’s what the market did. This comes across as authentic and helpful on a number of levels.

[JOANNA] (23:32):
You’re giving them what they need.

[CHRIS] (23:34):
Exactly. I could also say that I actually enjoyed the, after I got over my own internal struggle of how I did the old, my old way of doing business to the new way I have, and I don’t think just me, I think my clients, too, have really thoroughly enjoyed this new way of doing things. Because it makes it clear. Actually what it did for me was it asked me to become the practitioner that I’ve always wanted to become because it allowed me the space to do another assessment session and even integrate some new information that I wasn’t always using. When you have assessment sessions aside, when you can create a space for a dedicated assessment session, you can really see what changes, what positive changes have come about and you can still see what needs to happen.

From there, usually what needs to happen is you need to, well I’ve found that I need to bring in more than what I’ve just been doing. So more than just the hands-on work. Maybe I needed to throw in some pieces of neuroscience. Maybe I wasn’t doing a great job of explaining dimensions of pain that were relevant to them. Maybe I took a course in the past and I wasn’t implementing all of or I wasn’t implementing parts of that course and now I can bring all these tools that are relevant to this person’s journey of getting better. I can bring them forward here because I’m not just doing sessions. I’m helping this person to progress in the deep ways that they want and need to.

[JOANNA] (25:44):
One of the things I love that Chris highlighted there is how the programmatic approach, unlike a session-by-session approach, enrolls the client in being the agent of change in their own life. They are given the agency to make change. The real work is handed to them and Chris the practitioner becomes a teacher and a coach and a guide in their transformational process. I just love it. You can find more information about Chris and his business, Medicine Evolution in the show notes on my website.

[JOANNA] (26:23):
The third and final practitioner we get to hear from today is Talia Kovacs. Talia is a literacy specialist that works with school age kids and their families and her focus is on building calm, connected households for each child, which she does through literacy development with the kid, and then specific education and coaching for each kid’s parents and caregivers. It’s super cool work she does. In our interview, Talia shares that she started working with me at basically the same time she started her business. So she had been the CEO of a nonprofit that provided literacy development training for teachers and schools. She was truly an expert in her craft already, but her business was new and she got to start her business right from the beginning using the systems I teach in the Business (R)Evolution Academy.

I mention that because in her case there’s no before scenario or transition that she made from offering sessions to offering programs although she had worked in schools directly with kids in that session-by-session type of approach and knew that it often doesn’t help kids and their families achieve the ultimate results as well as it could anyway. So one reason, as Talia shares, is that parents weren’t involved in that process, which is why she involves the parents in all her programs. Okay, let’s hear from Talia.

[TALIA] (27:48):
My name is Talia. I am a former classroom teacher turned CEO of Lit Life, which is an international literacy consulting firm. For my whole career, up until I started working with kids and families directly, I was teaching teachers to teach reading. So I transitioned out of that a few years ago wanting to work much more directly with kids and with their parents and the people who are influencing kids in their lives every day. I now help parents whose kids are struggling with reading to develop their own sense of resilience with having a kid who’s struggling in school and develop their kids’ positive self-perception, confidence and sense of resilience in addition to all of the reading skills that kids need to succeed.

[JOANNA] (28:41):
To be clear, your clients, I mean you work directly with the kids, but your clients are the whole family, the parents too?

[TALIA] (28:51):
Yes. I work with the kids and their parents and also sometimes the nanny or any other caregiver that’s involved.

[JOANNA] (28:59):
Cool. So Talia, what were your services like before you started offering programs through your work with me?

[TALIA] (29:09):
Before I really started this business, I was thinking a lot about the importance of working directly with kids and impacting their lives in a more direct way as opposed to through their teachers or through their schools or through their school districts even. I heard about you from a friend as I was getting started on this business. She was like, “You got to just go listen to Joanna’s stuff.” So I took some of your free courses and all the things available on your website and I learned about programs as I was starting the business. I had had a rough sketch of a program or the idea that I don’t have to sell session by session and that I can do what’s best for kids, which is involving their parents and families, which is very different from traditional tutoring where you go in for a session or a package of sessions. So from the get-go with this business, I just started off with programs and it only got stronger through the academy.

[JOANNA] (30:08):
Tell us about your program. What is it that you enroll clients in? What do you do with them? What do they get? What is your program like? Where does it take them, from to where?

[TALIA] (30:19):
So the program is called the Resilient Reader Program and I work with kids on their own reading skills and sense of, I’ve gotten my own back, which is a distilled down version of resilience. I work with kids, yes, we’re learning reading skills. I meet with them pretty much every week and we go through a curriculum to make sure that they are caught up to grade level, if not beyond grade level in their reading. At the same time though, I’m working with their parents several times a month, we meet and they go through a full parent curriculum designed to build the child’s positive self-perception and build the child’s own sense of confidence and resilience and their resilience and joy together as a family.

Parents start off with the first few weeks are actually like, let’s not talk about reading at all with your kid and leave that to me and you just go back to the fun stuff. So like, anything that feels sticky for you or anything that you’re like, ooh, I know you know how to do this, just try it one time. Or like you’re trying to be nice but still encouraging them to do the thing that you know that they’re having a hard time with, we take completely off the table and it’s just reading for reading sake or if reading is too fraught, which sometimes it is, play for play sake. So we learn how to reconnect, get to know your kid more, almost like a child’s study for the first while. Parents really love it and it takes the pressure off from everyone in the house is what I hear.

Then we get into the research behind resilience and finding a child’s own strengths. So we go through a workshop based off of the philosophies of Dr. Leah Waters who’s a positive psychologist and invented Strength-Based Parenting. We investigate what are your child’s own strengths and they start pointing out their kids’ strengths to them. After a while, even for the most resistant kids where it takes longer to penetrate, after a while you’ll hear kids starting to echo, “Oh, well actually I’m pretty creative so maybe I can solve this problem in a different way.” Or, “Oh, well I’m really good with other kids so maybe I can ask one of my friends for help in school.” They are able to articulate their own strengths.

[JOANNA] (32:37):
That’s amazing. So just to make sure I’m understanding, they’re getting that through their parents? You’re working with the parents in that case, in this example that you just gave and so those are the messages they’re starting to internalize. Oh, that’s so beautiful.

[TALIA] (32:52):
Yes, exactly.

[JOANNA] (32:52):
That’s so beautiful, Talia

[TALIA] (32:54):
That’s really nice Yes, it’s great and it’s great when I hear from the kids like, “Oh, I played with my mom yesterday” or, “Oh my dad and I went outside and played.” And I’m like, “Oh good,” because that’s what’s happening on the parent end. So then from a child being able to identify their own strengths, we go into strength-based problem solving, which is a lot of the times when we’re helping our kids solve problems, we tell them, we ask them to build a skill before they then use it to solve a problem. So like if your kid’s shy and they’re a kid talked to them rudely at school, you’re like, “Oh well you have to stand up for yourself. Say something out loud. Say something to them.”

That’s like asking them to learn a whole new skill of being more outgoing or before they can then solve the problem of getting along better with their friend. With strength-based parenting, what you do is you back up and you’re like, what do they already have? If they already have a high emotional intelligence, they might find a quiet moment to talk to their friend about, “Hey, I didn’t really like it when you said that to me,” which is so much easier than sitting around the lunch room asking your shy kid to speak up. That’s like a small example of strength-based problem solving.

Then we get into real resilience and mistake work. So we talk about in my sessions with the kids, what it’s like to do hard things and I point out every time they do something hard. We have a little cheer that we do for something hard and then getting through it so they start to understand that they can do hard things and then them and their parents together take on a project or learn something new together that feels tricky. The rule for the parents in that case is to just 100% follow the kids’ lead and really not make any suggestions, but also not ask any questions because I’ve started adding that because so often, we ask a question when we are really making a suggestion, which my husband can attest to. It’s like, were you going to clean the fridge today?

So we’ve taken off questions and suggestions and it’s all just noticing. It’s like, wow, I’m noticing that you’re trying to fit that in together to make this Lego tower. I’m going to build a tower next to you right here. It’s noticing and saying what you’re going to do and allowing your kid to really be in charge. So really by the end of the program, not only are kids better readers, which is my work with them, but the parents and the kids have just like a very different relationship. Their relationship is much stronger and the kid has this whole toolbox of when hard things happen, I know I can use my strengths, I know that I can make mistakes and it’s not the end of the world and when hard things happen, I know that I’m able to go to my parents for help. All of those things are new, often new or newer in the parent child relationship. So it’s a whole family shift.

[JOANNA] (35:41):
That’s amazing. You didn’t even mention the like very technical literacy work you’re doing, which is what your actual expertise. That didn’t even come up at all. So your actual expertise is in literacy development. So it’s really interesting because that’s what people are coming for on the front, on the face of things. On the face of things, they’re like, their kid is behind in reading. What a great example you just gave us in getting to bring together all the pieces that you think people actually need. So you know as a BRA graduate that one of my mantras is give them what they need, not what they think they want. What people I imagine think they want is just a tutor, just a tutor to come help me, come help my kid catch up in their reading or whatever. You’re really providing this whole picture. So can I ask you detail, how long is the program?

[TALIA] (36:41):
Yes, so it’s a four-month program. That usually gets kids to very much close to or at grade level. There are some kids who will continue for another, who will go through the whole school year. It depends on where the kid is starting off.

[JOANNA] (36:59):
Okay and then is there a continuation piece? Many of my clients have the front facing and then there’s some maintenance or continuation program afterwards. Is there that for you?

[TALIA] (37:10):
There is, for kids who start with me in September, they’ll do the full resilient radar program for four months and then there is like a maintenance where I’ll continue with them at a similar pace with them and their parents through the rest of the school year. What’s different, it’s not like an official sort of very different program. It’s more like I keep working with their parents. Now it’s less of here’s my whole curriculum that I’m giving you and it’s more of okay, what’s coming up and I coach them through it and it’s still the literacy skills an advancement of the literacy skills for kids. So I don’t have like a name for it, but it definitely does happen.

[JOANNA] (37:51):
Yes, that totally fits. That’s what I would call maintenance. Sometimes people have a name for it. So tell me, you don’t have the experience of like, well before I was offering session by session and it was like this and now how it’s different, which is what I ask other people but you do have that experience of having been in schools, working session by session with kids. So what is the difference for you as the practitioner or for them as kids or for the families?

[TALIA] (38:22):
For me the big difference in the program-based approach is really that I’m able to give kids what they need by working with their parents and creating that buy-in and having the whole family approach. Like when I was working in a school and then when I worked in many schools coaching teachers, it was really like you worked with a kid, they gained some skills, but they’re getting different messaging at home, even the most positive of you can do this and you’re strong and you’ve got this. There was something missing in the kids’ whole surrounding environment that you can’t provide in a school, but you also just really can provide as a tutor just teaching kids, just working with the kids. There’s so much that’s out of a seven year old’s control. So working with the parents was the main difference at figuring out like, oh, I could actually build a program that’s designed to give kids what they most need, which is also parents who are educated in some of these philosophies.

[JOANNA] (39:27):
Yes, so beautiful. I love it. It’s all online with people. Are you working in person with people at this point? How’s that going?

[TALIA] (39:34):
I do both. So I see kids in my office in Brooklyn. I also have a satellite office in Manhattan, so anywhere in the New York City area. Then I do work with, most of my folks that I work with are online.

[JOANNA] (39:46):
Okay. How can people find you or where’s the right place to point people to if they want to look you up?

[TALIA] (39:52):
They can go to my website, taliakovacs.com and from there they can read more about the Resilient Reader program. They could read, just get some freebies on how to help your kids at home with their reading. They can sign up for my newsletter where I send out, really useful tidbits every week.

[JOANNA] (40:10):
Awesome. We’ll definitely put that the link to your website in our show notes. Is there anything else you would want to share with other practitioners who are looking at transitioning to a program-based approach?

[TALIA] (40:27):
Yes, it felt really scary at first to tell parents who were looking for someone to just come hourly and help their kid, “Hey, I’m going to help your kid, but I also need hours of your attention as well.” That applies to practitioners doing anything that’s outside of what people are directly asking for. It felt really intimidating. Like, well, if they’re busy that’s why they’re calling me. But what I see again and again and again and again is that the parents who are really invested, like the clients that you have that are really invested, they want the bigger picture, they’re appreciative of the bigger picture, and they didn’t even know to ask for it. So I just do want to really encourage folks to do, to put together a program that’s what your people most need.

[JOANNA] (41:11):
Thank you. Well, there you have it. Three businesses sharing their transitions to problematizing their services and what that’s been like for them and their clients. I hope that hearing about their programs gets you excited about creating yours for the first time or perhaps enhancing what you’re already doing with your programs. Now there is one important point I want to make before I end this episode about creating your program or programs. It is a very common mistake for a practitioner when they’re first creating a program for the first time to start to think, well, what would clients want to enroll in? What would they pay a lot of money for? What would they be excited by? What do they want?

I want to tell you that this is the wrong approach to take. I want you to forget about marketing and selling this. We figure that part out later. What you start with is always the client and what they actually need. So you need to know who is your ideal client, what are the pains and problems they have? What are the goals and desires they have? What is the ultimate result they seek and you design the program that you believe, you design the process that you believe they need in order to achieve the ultimate result. So you design this based on powerful results, not based on what sounds sexy or what you think will sell or what people will say yes to. Marketing comes afterwards. The positioning of your program comes afterwards. But the program design needs to come from a place of you as a practitioner giving your ideal clients what they truly need. Okay, that’s it for this episode. Bye for now.

Hey, if you enjoy listening to this podcast and you want to apply what you’re learning here in your business, did you know that you can meet directly with me and ask me questions and get my help when you come to the Practitioner’s Business Round Table? The Practitioner’s Business Round Table is a free gathering for innovative practitioners that I host each month. We meet live via Zoom and when you sign up for a spot, you have the chance to submit your questions beforehand, to get them answered by me at the round table discussion. You can grab a seat for the next Practitioner’s Business Round Table by going to joannasapir.com/roundtable. Let’s go deeper. Come learn more about how to build a fulfilling and profitable practice with long-term clients and stable income. I hope to see your face there.