Why I’m Dumping My Low-End Programs

Like you, every year I take a good look at my business and ask myself some key questions:

How did I do this year? (I measure this financially and qualitatively.)

What clients and projects would I like to duplicate ten times over? Are there any relationships I need to shift to make them work better?

What do I want to learn during the next year and what investments am I willing to make to continue to grow?

In the course of this appraisal, I also take a close look at my revenue streams—where is my income coming from and how am I poised to keep growing?

Two years ago, I made the decision to offer “programs”—including a handful of less-expensive coaching options than my usual deep brand consulting work. The idea was to give more affordable options to a wider range of potential clients. I envisioned attracting consultants and authors new(ish) to the field, helping them up to a bigger platform/more sales and ultimately building long-term relationships. A pipeline of sorts into my more in-depth offerings.

Epic fail.

Don’t get me wrong. I worked with a handful of people I am quite certain will be in my circle (to our mutual benefit) for years to come. We updated their websites. I encouraged them to reach for something they desperately wanted but were afraid to grasp. They are each soaring in their unique way.

But those were the exceptions. I met plenty of people who just didn’t take their work seriously enough to buckle down and do the work. Who were looking for a quick fix and afraid to spend the time and/or money to do the deep work branding, marketing and selling yourself and your work requires.

And as I looked at the time it took me to serve those clients (my most popular option came with unlimited emails), I was selling myself cheap. And worse: the brilliant success stories of my higher-end programs and consulting—my stock-in-trade—were not happening consistently.

It was time for a change. The same one I often advise my clients to take. Focus on your sweet-spot. Where you make the biggest impact in your clients’ lives and are doing the work that makes you literally sing.

Those low-end options were making me grumpy. So I’m kissing them good-bye.

Which of course frees up more time to focus on my true tribe—the people I can impact deeply and sustainably. Because the reason I started this business (vs staying in a big-firm leadership role) is that I wanted to do the hands-on work. Not for huge, soul-less corporations, but for real people running real businesses facing real challenges.

That’s what gets my motor revving.

Let me be your cautionary tale. Take a look—a good HARD look—at the work you’re preaching and what it brings to your actual and psychic bottom line. Is it feeding both? Is it sustainable?

Do the math and then trust your gut. You know what to do.


  • Rochelle,

    I love your honesty and courage to share this story. The best consultants are self-aware and are willing to make hard choices. We are kindred spirits and you inspire me!

    As you eloquently wrote: “Because the reason I started this business (vs staying in a big-firm leadership role) is that I wanted to do the hands-on work. Not for huge, soul-less corporations, but for real people running real businesses facing real challenges.”

  • Rochelle, I’m with you. I’m lucky to get input on this type of area from our sales person and she recommended we up our prices. As you say, there are people who are willing to invest (in effort and finance) to grow themselves and their business. And others who say one thing and do another. Finding ways to weed out those who are less committed doesn’t make you or them ‘bad’. This is about you – and us, your fans (!) – spending time, energy and effort doing work with love. One way I’ve heard salespeople achieve this is by pointing out the commitment needed from the potential customer and testing their willingness (e.g. 0-10 scale). Don’t take on clients whose scale is less than 7.5! Good luck to you, and thank you for your blogs and inspiration!

  • Robert Slayton

    I’ve been recommending the book “9 Lies that are holding your business back” for years and you hit one of the main points on the head. You want to be able to provide amazing value for the price. That’s hard to do if you under-price your services. If the cheap stuff doesn’t work, then cut it loose.

  • I have often been fearful of losing clients because of the loss of income. I learned losing can be winning because the losses are take up too much time unprofitably; while the new clients are eager to be a part of your team. I am now better at choosing who to keep and who not to.

  • Nothing wrong with exploring, taking chances; no doubt you helped yourself improve your “product” by testing the “wider-market” approach. Sometimes I get approached with possible “opportunities” that I may find not sensible for my practice and need to find ways to tastefully pass.

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