Episode #008 - Course Creation, Boundaries and Authority: Interview with Adrienne Johnson

Jul 29, 2021

A conversation about building successful courses, setting boundaries and 'being in authority' as a business owner

Katy Prince, Business and Sales Coach, talks with the incredible Adrienne Johnson, a course creation whiz. Adrienne helps entrepreneurs build community, create amazing courses and launch them in no time flat.

In their juicy chat Katy and Adrienne cover:

  • What makes a good course and what to avoid
  • Boundary setting with clients
  • Balancing a 9-5 with your business
  • What 'being in authority' looks like

Adrienne Info:

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Katy Prince: Welcome to the Study Notes podcast, the podcast for all things, service, sales and strategy for ethical entrepreneurs, brought to you by the Squirm-Free School of Business. I am your host, Katy Prince and I am obsessed with helping creators, business owners and freelancers like you, make money, reach your goals, without those outdated business tactics that make us squirm. On this show we are all about inclusion, confidence-building, honesty and fun. So if you want to have a look at your business but maybe you don't see yourself fitting within those traditional entrepreneurial boundaries, then pull up a seat, you are in the right place. All right. So let's get it going. I am so excited about this episode. So, so excited as we have the opportunity to speak with the incredible Adrienne Johnson, who you are going to meet in just a moment. I'll introduce Adrienne officially in just a sec but together we have so much to cover, including so many nuggets of genius around course creation, establishing authority online and the sometimes slightly contentious topic of setting boundaries with clients and in life.

I just know that so many of you are going to be able to relate to our conversation today. So let me go ahead and kick off with an introduction now and you'll meet Adrienne in just a moment. So you might be thinking writing, course design, nerd, tacky all at once while you haven't met Adrienne Johnson, yet. She is a professional writer, yes. She is a course designer for entrepreneurs and heck she even saw John Legend, up close once time, talk about a claim to fame. But what makes Adrienne a true master of her craft is her commitment to helping entrepreneurs build community, create good courses and launch them in no time flat. Her community goes absolutely nuts for her tell it like it is, yet slightly corny style. Her, Get Your Effin' Course Done, signature process and her ability to take the overwhelm out of all things course creation and I know that you're going to go nuts for it too. Definitely check out her testimonials to see for yourself.

So when she is not helping entrepreneurs create not just good but excellent courses, you will find Adrienne weightlifting, playing cello and sipping wine whilst watching reality TV, you and me both. Adrienne Johnson, welcome to the Study Notes podcast. I am so happy you're here.

Adrienne Johnso...: Thank you. I was super, super excited to do this. This is the bucket list right here, so I can't wait.

Katy Prince: Well, let's kick this off. I want to kick this off by just asking, how on earth are you? Are there any wins that we can celebrate with you before we get stuck in?

Adrienne Johnso...: So thanks for asking. I'm doing pretty well. Right now, at this moment, I'm in the middle of a move. But other than that, can't complain, all is well. Some wins, I just sold out my beta, Get Your Effin' Course Done, cohort I guess.

Katy Prince: Casual?

Adrienne Johnso...: Yeah. So that was great. And we're still working through that. So I can't wait to put all that together and get the course ready to launch. So that'll be in the next couple months.

Katy Prince: Amazing. Oh my gosh. Such a good feeling having your beta sold out and I'm sure we'll chat a little bit more about that as we go on. But I am so happy and so grateful to be spending this time with you today. I know I've just given you the official intro but in your own words, can you share with our listeners who don't yet know you, who you are, how you help people?

Adrienne Johnso...: Sure thing. So I'm Adrienne Johnson, for my day-to-day job, my 9:00 to 5:00, I write and edit courses for a top tech company. So that's what I enjoy, is what I love, courses are where it's at. For most people courses are where it's at and I have a background in education, technical writing and structural design. So my goal here is to help entrepreneurs create better courses. And so that's ultimately how I help entrepreneurs usually B2B, sometimes B2C entrepreneurs, scale their businesses, do whatever they want with their course and their business and just help make their life a little bit easier, usually.

Katy Prince: 100%. And we have got so many juicy avenues to go down and explore. And I know that you have got some serious nuggets and amazing experiences to share that I am certain are going to resonate hard with our listeners. Something I know that's really important to you and that you're a huge kind of advocate for and proponent of is having a good course, not just having a course but having one that is actually a high quality experience. And I'm sure that this is something that our listeners will want to prioritize too.

Adrienne Johnso...: Definitely.

Katy Prince: What makes a good course?

Adrienne Johnso...: Well, for me, there's a few different things that kind of make courses. Good courses you need, the first thing is engagement, keeping people engaged or something that is self-paced or something where they don't have an instructor live with them is one of the biggest things that's missing from a lot of courses and so engagement. The next thing is content, content, content, content. A lot of people who are experts in their industries, like a lot of people listening, I'm sure, a lot of people who are experts have a difficult time channeling their expertise into something that's going to be useful for someone who's learning. How do you actually do the instruction? What do people need to know in order to be able to get value out of it and replicate what it is that you know? So those are the two major things that I can think of right at the top of my head. But I think they're the biggest one so far.

Katy Prince: 100%. And I love what you say about, there's a difference between being good at something yourself and being able to teach it to other people. And that's so key and maybe a point of reflection. And I want that kind of, if you're someone who you are excellent at what you do and you're thinking about making a course, how do you go about that process of making sure that the course is appealing and people want to buy it, it's good quality and that the instruction is good? And then kind of, how do we balance that with it being sustainable, profitable? I understand why people take these shortcuts, I guess is what I'm getting at. And how do people need to move forward?

Adrienne Johnso...: Totally. I mean, first of all, like you said, when I talk about group courses, I always want to clarify that I'm not intending to vilify people who've either had to take shortcuts or taken shortcuts.

Katy Prince: Disclaimer.

Adrienne Johnso...: Yeah, disclaimer*. As I like to say, it's not trying to get on people for... and wag the finger. The goal here is to, how can we change? How can we improve? So when it comes to creating a course that's appealing, people usually have that down. A lot of online business folks are generally very good at marketing because you don't have anything else but the sales page. You don't have anything else but your persona online and all of that. When it comes to the content itself, the key thing that I always try to tell people, when you're trying to take something that you're an expert in and turn it into something that is repeatable for someone else, is to think about where is your learner now?

So where's your student now? What is it that they know? What is it they need help with? What are they struggling with? And then what you do is you think about step by step, by step, what's the first step they need to get to the end goal. And so from there, it's just, the transformation is the step-by-step process. And then from there, think about workbooks. Are they high quality? Can that person, without your instruction, get the same transformation that they would without you having to talk them through it? So usually that means proper instruction, some examples. I like to include videos within my workbooks. So I use Google Docs for that just to keep it simple. You don't have to use Google Docs. So workbooks, are they comprehensive?

Katy Prince: What constitutes comprehensive?

Adrienne Johnso...: Comprehensive just means good instruction. I see a lot and again, I don't think this is something that people do intentionally, but I see a lot, someone writes one question, it's one line and then they have a huge box of space for someone to fill out the answer to that question. And so for someone who is trying to not only learn something new, do something that's potentially intimidating, that big box is a roadblock because it's, "Does that question require such a long answer? Are there multiple questions in here that need to be kind of separated out into separate questions and answer boxes? Can this be a fill in the blank situation?" There's all different types of ways that you can make your workbooks and things more actionable. 

I like to use cells in spreadsheets just to kind of keep things concise because I think at least for me and I think this for a lot of learners, the big white box is, "Whoa, how do I organize and format how I'm trying to answer this question?" You have to give that to them. You have to give it to them. Don't make people figure it out on their own. And this is something even I, as a designer, struggle with sometimes. So no one's exempt.

Katy Prince: I 100% hear you, everyone's always a work in progress. And we can definitely let go of the idea, "Oh, mine has to be perfect before I can help someone else." It's about constantly being a work in progress and I think just being open and transparent about that.

Adrienne Johnso...: Absolutely.

Katy Prince: One of the things that I really loved that you mentioned there was remembering that someone who's moving through your course, they might be intimidated that they're in a process of learning something new and to have compassion, I guess, for them rather than, I don't know, rather than assuming that just because it's easy for you, it's easy for someone else. 

Adrienne Johnso...: Absolutely. I mean, think about, if you had to explain this to someone who has no idea what you're talking about, what tools do they need to actually get this thing to work? And so one of my favorite shows is Top Chef. And they always do some type of challenge where there's a chef on one side of the wall and then there's someone else on the other side of the wall and the chef has to instruct them how to create the same dish that they're making without the person seeing them doing.

Katy Prince: Oh my gosh, we need Top Chef in the UK.

Adrienne Johnso...: Yes, Top Chef is amazing. I love that show. But so, the question is, can you convey exactly how to do the same thing without you being there? And so how do you give all your folks everything that they need, all the tools that they need to replicate that process without overwhelming them? Which, is the other hard thing to do. So, again, it's a work in progress. I'm constantly learning and I have a background in education and writing and all of these things. So it's, even me, I struggle with trying to deliver something that is very difficult for people to understand. And that's something we all fall prey to sometimes.

Katy Prince: 100%. As well, very often, I know for me it can be almost like coming from a place of imposter syndrome like, "Oh, if I break something down this simply, what if people think," and then fill in that blank, "what if people think, oh, this is too basic. What if people think, oh, this is too simple. Oh, I was expecting this." I have a feeling that this might be something that our listeners have found or thought at some point. I'm just curious what you think about that.

Adrienne Johnso...: This is where knowing you are a learner kind of comes into play because what I have found is that the things that seem simple to me are actually more complex for people who are not familiar with this type of stuff. So I would just say, go as basic as you can. Sometimes people need the basics before they can kind of move on to higher level things and that's not a bad thing. That's not a bad thing. And you can build on the basics but you can't build on people not understanding something that is too high level for them to get. So that would be what I would say to that. Don't be afraid of going too basic.

Katy Prince: You can build on the basics, 100% but you can't build without them. I love that. And so right now your signature offer, Adrienne, is a group program which is currently in beta, which is so exciting.

Adrienne Johnso...: Yes.

Katy Prince: Congratulations. 

Adrienne Johnso...: Thank you.

Katy Prince: But in kind of a former iteration of you supporting entrepreneurs, you used to do VIP days, are you still doing those?

Adrienne Johnso...: I'm doing them but I'm not publicizing. [inaudible] just I haven't been pushing it but I do still work with clients here and there.

Katy Prince: And I'm curious, what was it that drove your decision to restructure your offer in this way to kind of go on this shift from VIP days to moving people into a group program experience?

Adrienne Johnso...: Definitely. I mean, I think that, a couple of things, first of all, I still have a 9:00 to 5:00, which I love and enjoy. And so I wanted to keep the time that I was working on my business to a minimum. And with clients, which they're great and I've had so many wonderful clients, I just wanted to shit or get off the pot. You know what I mean? I either wanted to go on with it, sorry, I don't know if I can curse.

Katy Prince: Please do. It's all good.

Adrienne Johnso...: I wanted to basically get to a point in my business where, I'm making a decision to move forward and leave my job and make my business my thing or keep my business and work with clients in a group/course format. And so right now the plan is to focus on my course and to get everything together for that and go from there. So as much as I enjoy working with clients, I don't really have the time and energy and if I want to do it full, full, full speed ahead, I'd want it to be an ultra-lux experience basically. And I want to be able to give my time to them. So that's kind of where I am right now.

Katy Prince: And I think what you're saying is super relatable because you have a 9:00 to 5:00 that you love.

Adrienne Johnso...: I'm working.

Katy Prince: I feel like the narrative is so heavily pushed in the online entrepreneurial space that the goal is to quit your job and put a umbrella up your butt on the beach and take a shower and a spicy margarita. And actually, there are so many more options and that's why I think that decision is such an important one because what would happen if you kind of bow to that pressure, I guess, that that peer pressure that is everywhere? And so I love the fact that, of course for you, it allows you to do both.

Adrienne Johnso...: It's been great for me and totally agree with you, the peer pressure of people saying, "You need to leave your job," not people saying you need to, people saying, "It's the next thing for you." And the scaling too, scaling isn't for everybody, you know what I mean? And there's nothing wrong with scaling. Sometimes you need to scale. But for me, I'm like, "Well, do I really want to manage a team?" But I don't know if I do. So that's kind of where I'm at right now.

Katy Prince: 100%, I think that's so valuable. And I'm so happy that you're sharing this because I think a lot of people need to hear this and see an example of this. And it is okay for you to construct your business, shape your business, shape your life, integrate your work life and whatever kind of capacity in combination. It is okay to do that on your own terms and the goal for everyone isn't, "Oh, I want to quit my 9:00 to 5:00. Oh, I want a 20,000 mark. I want to scale my business to six figures." How many times have you heard that?

Adrienne Johnso...: That's the magic thing. What does that mean? And six figures for a business folks, for people who are in it, that's some arbitrary number. But in a lot of places, six figures is not going to cut it. Six figures is not enough to live off if you have a team and all these other things. So I don't know how people are making it, the hypothetical six figures, I don't know what that means, for real.

Katy Prince: 100%. And I do have compassion for people who find it and learn to stick to their guns because there are so many influences. We're recording this in month gajillion of quarantine, lockdown life and we're spending so much more time on the internet. I guess I'm curious, knowing that you're protective of your time, you know what you want out of your life and business, are there any times where clients are asking for additional support, people are kind of badgering you for an exception, "Oh, could you just do it for me though, Adrienne?" or there's a sense of obligation there? Have you ever been tempted to compromise those boundaries?

Adrienne Johnso...: Totally, absolutely, all the time. I mean, I don't get a ton. I'm trying to put systems in place right now so that I don't have to be the one to respond to people trying to get into my boundaries and everything like that. But one of the things I'm setting up for my course is a help desk, it's manual using Zapier. 

Katy Prince: [inaudible]

Adrienne Johnso...: I mean and some people using Intercom or using other things or just as well. One of the things is that, when people request a refund because my refund policy right now is that my goal is to give people enough time to make a decision about this course or this product or service, that they know that this service is going to be the right fit for them. And that due to that process and me not pressuring people and pushing, pushing, pushing, pushing, pushing, that they understand that refunds are not a part of this process but I will request feedback. And now everybody has different opinions on refund policies and things like that. But I'm putting systems in place to keep my boundaries in place but I do get clients asking for additional review time and get people wanting me to do additional stuff that might be out of scope for the course and things like that.

And I'm just like, "Listen, I set up a system, I have a spreadsheet for people to give feedback and to request additional stuff to go into the course." And I will say, "Yes, no, maybe. Yes, this will be added in a future iteration." That type of thing to keep myself from having to constantly would be like, "Oh, maybe." It's already built in, so that's a long answer to a short question but systems has been very helpful for me.

Katy Prince: No, I think this is brilliant because I think by putting this sort of a technical barrier, you're not always having to be the one because it takes bandwidth. It takes, I think first of all, it's remembering that clients aren't trying to offend us or I think it's become quite popular to be like, "Oh, they should know, they should respect my boundaries." And actually, no, it's up to you to show people how to work with you.

Adrienne Johnso...: Absolutely.

Katy Prince: Because it looks a little bit different in every working relationship, whether that's where the service provider or contractor, even with employees. And so having an automation in place, it just takes that decision-making, it takes that emotional load.

Adrienne Johnso...: Yes.

Katy Prince: It means that you don't have to treat someone more favorably if you already have a preexisting relationship with them. It just takes all of the complexity out of it. And so you have that set up in Zapier, that sounds so interesting. 

Adrienne Johnso...: It's actually been really easy, really simple. I use the Sona. So basically I just use a Typeform and have people submit a help ticket. So if people were having issues with the site or the platform or there's some link missing or something isn't doing what it's supposed to do, they can just submit a ticket and it takes 30 seconds. And from there, there's an option for people who want to request refunds to say that they want to request a refund. I put that there not to inspire people to request refunds but as a thing where it's, I see all the time people are like, "Oh God, so-and-so requested a refund and I don't know how to respond to them." And it's, for my refund policy, it's going to be the same every time because I do try to build compassion into my policies and try to do all that.

And so if people want to go further than that, they can try to go further than that but they're always going to get the standard response, which I think is relatively just good business. You have to kind of protect your time. I don't have the time. I don't want to spend time replying two requests that are going to throw my entire day off. And again, it's a tough thing. It's a tough thing. But again, I try to build compassion into my marketing strategy and build compassion into my webinar, on all of these things so that I'm not feeling like I'm putting all this pressure on people on the onset and then they have buyer's remorse. I don't want just anyone's money. But setting up the system is just another way for me to not have to worry about, "Okay, we've got to respond to these people and give." It's a whole thing. It's a heart-wrenching thing, it is.

Katy Prince: It takes the emotion out of it. And you're so right. It's just business. And just, you want to have automated delivery of your course. You're not jumping on a call with everyone and kind of walking them through each lesson, that is automated. It makes sense that the support that they receive should be reflective of that as well. There are so many additional benefits to doing that way. If someone's on a different time zone, they can get that automated response and know where they stand with an issue right away, whatever. I think there's so many positives. 

You kind of hinted at something that actually I kind of want to dig into a bit. I think you were mentioning about sort of making sure that people have, that they really do have all the information that they need in order to make a good decision for them. And I think it definitely has become, I think a lot of people see having an online course is a really fast path to cash and I can feel myself just, we know that this is a squirm free zone and I can feel myself just starting to squirm a little bit. Are there any practices that you've noticed being an expert in this space and being exposed to a lot of, of course, the way that courses are sold or marketed, are there any common practices or common mistakes that you've noticed in the sales and of courses that are particularly squirmy that we need to avoid? 

Adrienne Johnso...: Definitely. A lot of the terminology is incorrect. So a lot of times what I see, and I don't want to call this particularly squirmy, but I have seen some things where it's, "Create a course in a weekend." And it's, I mean, try it if you want to, good luck with that. I don't know that, that is, I mean, based on all the steps that it takes to really create a good course, unless you're dedicating your time throughout the weekend and you already have content, I don't know how that's possible. So I would say that type of thing is a little squirmy. And it's not the same as you can't build a course in 40 days or 45 days or 60 days or that type of thing but in a weekend, in 24 hours, in a week, I think that's a little bit of a squirmy practice because I'm thinking, "What exactly is going into this course, exactly?" 

And that leads me to the terminology thing whereas usually people confuse the idea of creating a course. They use the terminology, create your course and what they're really talking about is marketing. And they're talking about, you can market your course instead of the marketing for your course in a weekend or in a week, that type of thing. That I can see but the creation of the course itself, unless you already have ready-made content and workbooks and all this other stuff, I don't know how that's possible. And I don't know how that would be possible.

Katy Prince: How that is actually physically possible?

Adrienne Johnso...: I don't know how that's possible. I mean, hey, prove me wrong I guess. But as far as I can tell and everything that I've seen, everything that I've done, it is just not likely. So confusing the terminology with create your course in X amount of time, what they're generally, I think, usually talking about is marketing and how you can set up the marketing machine for your course in that amount of time. And a lot of people don't talk about course content design. That's something that, a term that I use that I think I came up with but maybe not. But a lot of people don't talk about teaching course content design, so it's not just marketing but content design. And so that's what my course focuses on. But the other thing too, with the terminology is people calling something a course, that is not a course. So I have seen even big names create something and say, "Here's a mini course on X," and it might just be a workbook. It might just be a training or some other thing but it's not a course.

Katy Prince: A masterclass, something like that.

Adrienne Johnso...: A masterclass. I've definitely seen people call workbooks courses and they're not courses. They're just not. For me, courses include some type of instructor component. So a video, an audio and then people are doing a lot of audio courses now, some type of instructor led component plus some type of way or place for you to keep track of the content and do your own work. And then there might also be additional resources and things like that. But people using the term course because they want a course but what they're selling is not technically a course. So that's kind of the biggest things that I see.

Katy Prince: Got it. And I think transparency is something that's so important because I'm the same way. If I was deciding to purchase something and I was expecting a course and I got, I'm sure a very beautiful and well-designed PDF workbook, I would not be happy.

Adrienne Johnso...: I mean, that's an ebook maybe or a workbook but it's not a course. And I think that's where a lot of the struggle with people downing the course world and the course industry comes into play is because people they're disappointed. They're being sold on the marketing of something and then when they get it, it's not at all what they're expecting. And so therefore, people just shit on courses and it's, it's not that, it's that there's components missing. And when a guru tells you that you can create a course in a weekend and that you don't need anything, you just need, that's why you get these shitty courses. That's why the expectations are not being set in the right way and therefore people are kind of done with courses because they're tired of spending money on things that are not good quality. 

And sometimes the course is not the answer to the issue that you're looking for in your business for whatever reason. And there's no shame in that either. And sometimes you need a coach. Sometimes you need a strategic something rather. But maybe a course isn't going to be the next best thing for you. And so there's understanding that as well for you as a course purchaser, for us as course purchasers to think about is, is a course really the next right step for me at this juncture. But squirm free courses all day.

Katy Prince: Yes, please. We want to know what we're buying.

Adrienne Johnso...: Yes.

Katy Prince: And we want transparency about what we can expect. And if it was included in the marketing, then we want it in the delivery.

Adrienne Johnso...: Absolutely.

Katy Prince: And I don't think that's a tool [crosstalk]

Adrienne Johnso...: People don't teach how to determine whether or not your course content actually lives up to its own marketing. People don't go back and I don't know if they do. I mean, I say that but it doesn't seem like people go back and look up their marketing and say, "Does what I'm selling live up to this marketing?" And that's where this whole lack of process comes into play because if you're creating a course in a weekend and you're not really thinking about the course holistically as an arm of your business or as a product of your business, then you kind of ignore all this, sometimes people can ignore all those steps and then when people are upset and want refunds, then it's a struggle because it's, "Well, I put this together for you."

And it's, "Well, did you? Is this exactly what you're selling?" And this is a thing that I go through all the time. I'm always thinking about my marketing and whether or not it actually lives up to, whether the course itself, whether the content itself lives up to the marketing. So, sorry, I had to go on a tangent again.

Katy Prince: No. It's super, super valuable. And it's one of the things that I think, I've always watched you do brilliantly is what I love about the way that you sell your offers, where you sold your VIP day, the way you've sold out the very first round of your course is, and I hope it's okay to say this, the focus in the marketing isn't on like bells and whistles and shiny things, it is about content. And you take the time to properly explain expectations in your sales pages. In fact, I love the way that you put together your original sales page in a Google Doc.

Adrienne Johnso...: Listen, me and Google Docs, we go way back. I am not above a Google Doc.

Katy Prince: But it had all of the information in and the result was excellent.

Adrienne Johnso...: Thank you.

Katy Prince: People don't care whether it's on a Google Doc, whether it's written out on a PDF or whether it's on a super shiny website with countdown timers and bells and whistles and images of you kind of on holiday wherever.

Adrienne Johnso...: On a beach.

Katy Prince: Yeah, on a beach because somehow that's relevant. And so how do you go about that process of outlining, "Hey, here's what you're going to get."

Adrienne Johnso...: Honestly, I try to write how I speak. I know that's a copywriting trick and everything but I try to just be conversational and say, "Listen, this is this. If I were to say this to someone, this is exactly how I'd write it." So it'd be, "Listen, this is what this is about. This is why I'm here. Here's me being snarky about other folks sometimes. And here's why this process doesn't work. And let me tell you about a new process. Let me tell you about something that's going to be more beneficial. Here's what I can do. Here's what I won't be able to do." And I try to just be conversational and straightforward. And I think at least from the feedback that I've gotten, people seem to be receptive to that kind of straightforward style.

So I just try to be conversational and just be like, "Here's why you want this. Here's why you need this." And I qualify people based on that and say, "You need this because X, Y, and Z." And so if those people are actually having those issues and actually dealing with those problems, it'll resonate with them. If they don't have those issues and they don't have those problems, it won't. And so I try to be as clear as possible and just say, "Listen, this is who I can help. This is who I cannot." And I think people are getting around from the online business world to the level where we're like, we're way more conscious as consumers and we're more able to read between the lines and assess whether or not something is going to be good for us or not. And so I think ultimately, I think it's been helpful, hopefully to others. But I just try to write how I speak and maybe the way of saying things might be a little pointed but I try to just get it across anyway.

Katy Prince: But that's perfect. People need the experience of what it's going to actually be like to work with you.

Adrienne Johnso...: That's me.

Katy Prince: Exactly. If your marketing is one thing and then kind of they get inside the course and it's, "Oh, she won't tell me off for [crosstalk] And it might be a bit of a surprise. So let people know what they're in for. I love it. The front-end sales and marketing, it should be a reflection of what's delivered. And I think this is kind of what we've come back to throughout this conversation, a lot is it's about being transparent and setting expectations.

Adrienne Johnso...: Absolutely. Expectations are key. I mean, even with my beta course right now someone even asked me, "Hey, what can we expect to have done after we finished these workshops?" And I was like, "Honestly, I don't know." I was like, "I don't know." I mean, at this point, I'm trying to see, I know all the things that I'm covering but I want to know exactly what I can deliver and I won't know that until it's done, I won't know it until it's over. And so I wish I could say, "Yes, listen, you're going to have your courses done in the next several weeks." I wish I could say that at this juncture, at this point but I can't say that. I want to know what your takeaways are and then you tell me what your takeaways are and what you get out of it and how it was beneficial to you. And then that's what I'll use in my marketing. I'm not going to make promises I cannot keep, I'm just not going to do it.

I want people to evaluate how it was helpful and useful for them and based on their feedback, then I take it back and update my marketing. And so that's ultimately how I try to go about it. 

Katy Prince: Those are absolutely goals.

Adrienne Johnso...: I wish I could be like, "Hey, you're going to get this and that done."

Katy Prince: Those false promises, they serve no one.

Adrienne Johnso...: They don't.

Katy Prince: And I would be so curious to know, having just kind of gone through the launch, when you go back to people and you say, "I don't know yet. Hey, I can tell you what I'm going to deliver and here are some of the outcomes that I've got in mind for you. And I'm really curious to see what you do." It's kind of you're inviting them to share responsibility for those outcomes. And I would imagine that people respond really well to that. 

Adrienne Johnso...: I think people do. I think I always try to go about it as, "I'm going to tell you what I know and if I don't know something, I'll tell you. If I don't have the answer to something, I will let you know." Because I think that the word expert is being made synonymous with, has all the answers about everything all the time and frankly, that's not up to me, that's not a proper word to me. An expert knows what they don't know. To me an expert can say, "Yes, I have background, I have experience and I have education and knowledge in this topic but that doesn't mean I'm going to have every single answer to everything. And that's because I know what I don't know." And so I know that there's a whole wide world out there that I only know a good chunk of and I have experience in. But at the same time, I'm not going sit here and say that I know everything and comes to me with all questions and be the guru.

I don't want to be the guru. I want to be an expert. I want to be a trusted resource but I don't want to be a guru. So it's hopefully people find it appealing, I guess. I mean, I'm only going to say what it is. I'm only going to tell the truth.

Katy Prince: 100%, and I love that. This is so refreshing because so many people are like, "Launch an online course to increase your authority and position yourself as an expert," and everything you've just shared there Adrienne, is a complete breath of fresh air, antidote to that. And I'm sure that everyone listening is taking that away. Not only breathing a bit of a sigh of relief of, "Okay, I actually don't need to know everything." And having the confidence to move forward and say, as you say, say, "Oh, I actually don't know, let me check on that for you," or, "Let me have a look into that for you." Or, "Let me see if I can connect you with someone who has experienced that." And that's a real expert at play, that's someone who's confident in their abilities at play.

Adrienne Johnso...: And that, I think that it makes all the difference, like you said, I think it takes the pressure off because I could run down my credentials. I could run down all of my credentials but that still probably wouldn't be enough depending on who you ask. And I have days, my own self, where I deal with imposter syndrome and all of that. I know what I know. I do have experience and do have stuff. So sometimes it's, "Yes, I do know certain things but I'm not going to sit here and say," and I tell this to my beta course and everything, "I'm going to give you advice on certain things but my goal is to help you ask the right questions, to be thinking about the right questions."

Because people ask me, "What's the best platform. What's the best this or what's best that?" Well, I'm going to help you think about what questions do you need to have the answers to before you can make that decision because there is not one right answer for everyone and that's just common sense. But if we can get you to the point where you're asking the right questions about this, you can start to make the right decisions about your course and your own values for your course and what you need to do to move forward in your course. And so that's kind of where I want people to be confident in, is asking the right questions.

Katy Prince: 100%, questions like high value questions and being able to make great decisions. Adrienne, I can chat to you about courses literally all day. I really could because I just love the way that you think about this whole space and the way that you're real about it. And I'm so, so grateful for everything that you've shared. I know that people are going to want to continue to connect with you. Where should they go? Where should they go if they want more Adrienne, more course expertise and real talk? Where do they need to get themselves along to?

Adrienne Johnso...: I appreciate that. You can find me and your other course creation buddies, badasses, whatever you want to call it, in the Springboard Society. It's a Facebook group that's free. Just feel free to jump on in there, you'll find all kinds of resources available to you. And that's where I spend a lot of my time. So if you want to reach out to me and get in contact, that is the place I will be, the Springboard Society.

Katy Prince: Amazing. We will link that up in the show notes. I'm a member. It's a fantastic Facebook group, really, really generous. Adrienne is so generous with her time and expertise in there. And you have such a great community who will cheer for you on your journey to launching a course of your own.

Adrienne Johnso...: Definitely.

Katy Prince: Adrienne, thank you so much for your time. Thank you for coming on the podcast.

Adrienne Johnso...: It's been amazing.

Katy Prince: Yes.

Adrienne Johnso...: Bring me back, Katy.

Katy Prince: We will definitely have to do this again. You're absolutely right. And I just want to say good luck, not just to you, but I'm so excited for your new clients who are going to be moving through this first round of your course with you.

Adrienne Johnso...: Thank you.

Katy Prince: If anyone wants to kind of get on the wait list for the next round, they should probably get in touch, right?

Adrienne Johnso...: Yes. Get in touch. And you can find out on my website @adriennejohnson.co/waitlist. So that's where you can find that.

Katy Prince: Perfect. Get on that, get on the wait list folks.

Adrienne Johnso...: Join the party. 

Katy Prince: All right, let's wrap it up. Thank you so much for your time today, Adrienne.

Adrienne Johnso...: Thanks Katy. I appreciate it. 

Katy Prince: All right. Well, that concludes my chat with the amazing Adrienne Johnson and this episode of the Study Notes podcast. Thank you so much for tuning in folks. If you are looking to set more boundaries with your clients, if you're looking to feel confidence, if you're looking to maybe sell your course and make sales with your service, then you are invited to apply to join Squirm-Free Sales Masters. This is our signature sales group program that helps entrepreneurs get the sales they deserve in an ethical way. Plus we help you make the necessary mindset shifts so that you can speak with confidence in your next sales call, so that you can write your sales page without second guessing yourself. And I would love to invite you to join our supportive and empowering community of other amazing business owners just like Adrienne.

So head over to squirmfreesales.com/apply to find out more, apply to join us and get involved. That's squirmfreesales.com/apply, as always the link will be in the show notes. So one final thing before I bid you farewell, definitely tag us on Instagram @squirmfreeschoolofbusiness, with your biggest takeaway from the episode. And also if you're enjoying this, why not share with an ethical entrepreneur pal, who's also trying to get clearer on their sales, service and strategy. Definitely, leave a review or share your thoughts on the show. I get so, so excited whenever I see a new one pop up. All right, that's it for me. Have a fab rest of your day and I'll see you next time.


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