#101: Virtual Workshops To Expand Your Reach

Wondering how to expand your business, gain experience, build a mailing list and find new clients…all without leaving the house? Look no further. In this episode Michelle and Boston-based health coach Kristen Ciccolini discuss holding successful virtual workshops, finding venues and what to expect for compensation.

Join them next week for a more in-depth training on exactly HOW to come up with a virtual workshop in the first place 🙂 Register for free at HealthCoachPower.com/createvirtual

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Michelle:
Hey there health coaches. Thank you so much for joining me for another episode of the health coach power community podcast. Today we are picking up on a topic that we started to talk about last week during our 100th episode we started to talk about workshops with Kristen who's one of the members of our community. So if you didn't listen to that episode you might want to go back and just check that out cause that was a fun one. We actually talked to three different members, you know, actual real life coaches from our health coach community to hear about what they've been up to and some recent successes in their world. But today I wanted to go a little bit deeper with Kristen because she's been doing some really interesting things around virtual workshops and I don't know if you've noticed, but it's kind of an odd time in the world of, well just in the world and especially as a health coach, if you're thinking about how am I supposed to be building my business right now, growing my mailing list, getting clients, gaining exposure, doing all the things when I am stuck in my house and Kristen has come up with a way to do just that.

Michelle:
In fact, I've sort of watched her make this pivot over the past couple of weeks and she's been rocking the virtual workshops in a big way, I think, because she's had so much experience doing them in person. So anyway, Kristen's here with me. Thank you for joining us today. Kristen.

Kristen:
Thanks for having me.

Michelle:
Having you again. I mean, you're like a regular at this point. So for everybody, if you haven't met Kristen before Kristen Ciccolini is a health coach from Boston, Massachusetts. She's been practicing for about three years. And, and if you want to check her out by the way, her website is goodwitchkitchen.com is that right?

Kristen:
Dot net.

Michelle:
Goodwitchkitchen.Net. That's an easy one to mess up. Awesome. So Kristen, let's just kind of pick up from where we were last week. I know we were talking about how you've been doing a lot of workshops all around the Boston area, but just recap for everybody, kind of what your experience has been with giving live workshops. What sort of venues and how you got into it like over the past couple of years.

Kristen:
So I started three years ago giving workshops at my local community center. So I didn't start doing it an offices or anything. I saw that the local community center was just looking for people to teach classes. So I did workshops and cooking classes. So that's how I got my start was doing mostly cooking classes. So I got comfortable teaching people or talking to people in person and I'm teaching a set curriculum. So it, I was very, very shy. I've always been a shy person. So it really, really got me comfortable with speaking in front of people and now I do it all the time. So I got my start there. And I continue with the cooking classes, but I also moved into corporate wellness, so bringing my wellness workshops to people's offices, companies, offices, and I've been doing that for 'em most of my business I would probably two and a half years. And I've gotten a lot of experience around Boston doing that.

Michelle:
I'm glad you brought up that point about being a little more on the shy side. I know so many health coaches are either just kind of shy, maybe a little introverted to begin with or brand new and terrified of speaking in public or doing anything like this. Just cause ah, I, you know, I'm so new to this, but you got out there right away. Did you have any tricks to help you feel more comfortable imagining everyone in their underwear? Something like that?

Kristen:
My go-to is to over-prepare. So if I, if I like have a full script, if I have notes for everything it can be maybe a little overwhelming to start off with. But I mean it's helpful to know that I'm fully prepared, you know, so I, I was terrified to go do though all that stuff, but they also had to remember like I'm the only one that's going to do it. I don't have a marketing person, I'm the marketing person, so there's, I didn't really have a choice. So that just pushed me into doing it. And then also over-preparing made me feel better about doing that.

Michelle:
Right. You can't really over-prepare but you can certainly under prepare. Definitely. All right. I feel that. So you're doing this for a couple of years. I know you had some workshops that you were planning to run this spring or you're trying to get set up for the spring and then boom, Corona virus. So tell us a little bit about how you shifted, cause I know you've had some recent success with a workshop that you've created to present virtually.

Kristen:
Yeah, I jumped on this really quickly. So, but a month ago I pulled my audience on Instagram and asked them what they were needing right then. So people were asking for tips on managing a potential longterm quarantine health wise, so you know, foods to stock up on you know, how to eat healthy during quarantine, all that. And I got the whole thing together within two or three days and I delivered it as a paid virtual workshop for the first time on March 17th, so about a month ago now. So since then I pivoted a bit because I originally intended it to be for my audience and community and it worked well. But also everyone else in my position was trying to do the same thing. Everyone is rushing to bring their businesses and their classes online and a lot of people were offering classes for free.

Kristen:
And I am not in a position to be working for free now, right now with how my household's been impacted by all of this. So I charged $15 for it, you know, accessible. And I got 10 signups, which wasn't bad for something I threw together, you know, and promoted in less than a week. So I put it together really quickly because I wanted to get it out there. And you know, I've just put the time into it and got the slides together, got my script together and just, you know, like I said, it, I don't, I feel like I don't have a choice in these things. I just got into it and it was really well received.

Michelle:
That's awesome. So now you've taken this workshop that you did for your own audience, you charge $15, and then you started bringing it to other audiences, right?

Kristen:
Yeah. So like I said, I've pivoted to selling this as a corporate wellness workshop for companies to offer as a resource to their employees because I can make more money that way and I can sell it continuously. So if I'm selling this same workshop to my audience over and over and I really can only do that like once or twice, you know, so I've been doing corporate wellness workshops since 2017 so I had relationships that I could leverage as a starting point. And you know, some places were really impacted by this whole situation and didn't have the budget. But some did and I made a point of going through all of my old clients and reaching out and since I put it together so quickly, I was one of the first people offering this type of workshop to them. So it was appealing and even the people who didn't go for it, you know, it's still just keeping up the relationship there.

Michelle:
Right? They still see you as a resource. And also I think it's kind of cool cause they're seeing you as someone who like, is keeping up with them like what they need, offering it when they need it, offering something that they're able to do when you know, when it is relevant. So I think that was just a super cool thing to do as a business owner and show your flexibility. That's amazing. So I know you've done, you have the self care during quarantine workshop, but then you have others, like you've done a couple of our virtual workshops over the past couple of weeks, so you can just tell us a little bit about the different venues and the different setups that have come with each one of them.

Kristen:
Yeah, so mostly it's I mean I've been doing it for companies. I also partnered I talked about this last episode, but I partnered with a website, holistic CISM who was offering virtual wellness workshops for their community. So that was a different way that I got in front of people. But mostly I'm doing corporate stuff, so I'm in Boston, so I have access to a lot of tech companies and people who work there. And those are the places where I normally do workshops in person anyway because I used to work in digital marketing, so I understand that way of life and I target them accordingly. So whatever maybe whatever background you had before health coaching, tried to leverage that into who you're reaching out to and let them know that you understand them. But yeah, the last few weeks I've done this workshop for one of the big food delivery apps. An app development in Cambridge. I'm also a big PR firm out here. So I've been doing it and mostly tech related but in different areas, those kinds of companies and I did a lot of cold outreach, which is not normally how I get corporate clients. It's almost, it's almost always through someone I know who can connect me to their HR person or you know, the corporate culture lead, you know, you have to, you have to think about all the new titles they have now. Now it's like chief people officer.

Kristen:
So you know, whoever the right contact is. So it's really important to look at your network. Cold outreach really hasn't, it has a much lower success rate, but I've been doing it anyway just to cover all my bases. But I mostly have been focusing on companies. If I'm doing cold outreach, I'm focusing on companies that are hiring because that means they still have money to spend.

Michelle:
I thought that was a brilliant idea when he said that. Well I'm looking at those that have, you know, I guess job listings cause if they have job listings that means there's budget for stuff. Exactly. Oh smart. And didn't you also do one that was over a Facebook live or another organization?

Kristen:
I did a Facebook live with a photographer a few days ago. So she, she's really focused on loving your body, really healthy body image. And that's a lot of stuff that I work with too. So it was a really good way to reach her audience who are pretty much in my target market. So yeah, partnering with other practitioners too. So that one was free. The corporate workshops I always do paid. But yeah, you can definitely partner with other practitioners or people who are similar and have aligned values with you and just to get in front of other people. So I've been doing a lot of that too.

Michelle:
I'm kind of digging back into my memory because it's been a long time since I did corporate workshops or anything like what you're describing, like kind of like reaching out and partnering w you know, with corporations, other venues. But ages ago now ages and ages ago, I held a workshop and I partnered with monster.com because I had been writing a column for them and I thought, well, how could I leverage this relationship into, you know, taking it one step further, could I offer some sort of workshop for their audience? And it was the very first one I had ever done. So typically your first it's going to be like, you know, your mom comes and your sister and like your friend. And like my very, very first, like, it wasn't even a webinar because this was so long ago. It was actually held via teleseminar because I'm old, but I had like 68, I dunno, maybe 80 or something like that. 60, 70, 80 people signed up for this thing. All complete strangers through monster.com and I was terrified but that will just sort of break the ice really quick. Cause after that nothing felt intimidating.

Michelle:
And then I remember throwing together a lot of things like this. You have to hold in the virtual space weather mostly from my own audience, but you made such a good point that like you can, you can build something and it can take like a long time, not a effort to like put together a workshop and then you do it once or you can do the work, have a workshop put together and you can hold that same workshop over and over and over and over again if you're changing up the venue. So that is super, super smart.

Kristen:
Yeah, definitely.

Michelle:
I wish I had done back then cause I was not thinking that way. I just kept reinventing the wheel every time. Putting in hours of work up front and then getting sort of one go.

Kristen:
Mmm.

Michelle:
So brilliant work that you're doing, finding all of the different venues that's so important. And you, you'd mentioned a little bit about what you're charging or not charging. Could you just talk a little bit more about like how much you're earning per workshop and how and when you decide to do them for free?

Kristen:
So with the corporate ones, I won't do them for free. I'm just not in a position to do that and it's really valuable, well-resourced information. So I don't do those for free. But my rates are all over the place because there's a lot of different factors. But my base rate is two 75 and I'm also flexible with that. So I did this workshop a few weeks ago for one 50 and that was for a company with whom I'm developing a relationship with. So there is an understanding that we continue to work together at my normal rate in the future. Cause they're on a budget right now. I'm also, yesterday I quoted a 600 person company, $800 for the workshop. So it's definitely a wide range and it's a really great source of income right now if you're persistent and proactive with following up with people because they're, they're definitely being bombarded with this information right now and also think about, you know, the people you're reaching out to.

Kristen:
They're human too. They're not always going to be in the mental space to be arranging these things during a pandemic. So just being proactive and continuing to follow up with them kindly is really helpful. In terms of how I decide to do them for free, the ones where I'm partnering with other practitioners, I've found those are good to do for free one because I'm, like I said, the general public is, there's a lot of free stuff out there right now. So especially when people are tightening their budget, they're not always gonna want to pay for this stuff, which is unfortunate. But if I'm able to get in front of a new audience where these are my people, you know, or if I'm able to get their email addresses, then I'll do it for free. Cause then there's, there's some value for me in that.

Michelle:
Yeah, absolutely. If you can get email addresses in exchange, even if you're doing it for free, I mean email addresses are not free friends. You can spend thousands and thousands and thousands of dollars in Facebook ads just to collect email addresses online. So if you can show up and spend $0 million and actually receive a whole list of email addresses, that would make it completely worth it. I'm just thinking about something you said earlier about using like your contacts and leveraging kind of experiences that you've already had. What do you think about somebody who's pretty brand new? I mean, I'm always telling everybody, do workshops because it's going to help you build your experience. Just like in presenting information. It doesn't even matter who's watching, you're going to gain confidence in doing so. Can you, like, I don't know if I didn't ask you this question in advance, but I'm curious like what advice you would have for somebody who's never done this before and doesn't have much of an audience.

Kristen:
So definitely use your personal network. So just like you would you know, if you're, when you're announcing that you've started the business, you know, reach out to your friends and family, let them know what you actually do because yeah, you're a health coach. But you know, as, as you may have learned in the community that we're in, a lot of people don't know what that means. So it's really important to, you know, tell your friends and family what you're actually doing and be clear about what you're looking for. So you can tell them, I'm, you know, if you are an HR person, if you have a wellness program at your company if you'd know someone who has a venue who is looking for workshops, please send them their info, send me your, or send me their information. You know, just really try to use the people that you already know because you know, they like you, they'll vouch for you. So it's always good to just start there. Other than that, like I said, you can do cold outreach going through LinkedIn and looking at different companies in your area. It is nice to start locally. Now that we're in a virtual space, we don't have to be local, but it is nice to have that sort of if there, if there are no other connections, that's one good connection to have. As you know, I'm a local business here, a local business. But yeah, definitely always start with a personal network.

Michelle:
And you know, for me I'm thinking, gosh, I've moved a lot. And so for any of you guys who've lived in different places, even before you became a health coach, you know, you may, you may think about like who's in your network and if you were going to hold an in person network, it would have to be local business that you could or place that you could get to a venue that's local to you. But right now, you know, if everybody's online, everybody's doing everything virtual, it's a great time to think about, Oh yeah, I used to live in New York six years ago, but I still have friends and connections there. Why don't I think about contacting them? I used to live whatever anywhere in the world is up for grabs right now. So that's always true. Of course with virtual workshops, we don't have to be in the middle of a pandemic in order do that.

Michelle:
But I do think that this has been a real awakening. Not so much for, for us as health coaches. Cause like again, we can always do this, but for companies to go like, Oh, Oh like we can do stuff online and maybe they wouldn't have ever done that before. So that, I think there's a huge opportunity there. So that's a lot of great ideas in terms of, you know, making the connections and finding a venue. I know for anybody listening right now, they're like, ah, but what topics should I present on and how do I even put this together and do I need like a slide show or do I have to memorize a what I'm going to say? Like how do I actually get all this content together? So I want to let you guys know that Kristen and I are going to be hosting a free training next week.

Michelle:
So that will, if, I don't know when you'll be listening to this episode, but this will be happening on April 23rd, 2020 of course you have Corona virus and and that webinar is going to be how to create your own virtual workshop. So actually like the nuts and bolts of choosing a topic and getting all the content together that you need and delivering something just like what Kristen's been doing so that you can continue moving, moving forward in your own business during this time. And if you would like to sign up for that, you can for free at healthcoachpower.com/createvirtual because you will be creating your own virtual workshop. Also, my lamp just died on me, so if I'm suddenly in a big shadow, that's why I'm gonna try to plug it back in. Nope, that's doesn't work well, this is the fun stuff that happens when you're presenting virtually. Sometimes your set up gets screwed up. And I wanted to ask you about that too, Kristen, the setup that you use for your virtual workshops, like what platform are you presenting over and do you do anything special so that your lamps don't die on you?

Kristen:
I've actually, I've actually had like my light actually fall down while I was presenting before I have on this led light that I keep in front of my computer to have that nice glow. It's not there today, but one time it just fell flat down and it was, it scared me. And I remember jumping, I was like, Hey, this is what happens when you're live, so you gotta be prepared for stuff like that. Just take that in stride. But in terms of actual you know, what I've been using to handle, is that what you asked? But I've been using?

Michelle:
Yeah, the platforms, tools... Like any special stuff, I'm sure everybody's wondering how you go about it technically.

Kristen:
Yeah. So I've been using zoom almost, I'm almost a hundred percent of the time. So actually this morning I did a workshop for a company using a different service called blue jeans. I hate live because I couldn't see my speaker notes. So I had to do this crazy setup with my old laptop stacked on books behind the laptop that I was using so I could see my notes. It was too much. I don't like that. So I found the best way is to work with zoom. Although it can still be kind of clunky when you do have a speaker notes, but I've been using zoom and then Google slides for my presentation because I can open those notes and no one sees them. So yeah those are the two main things that I've been using.

Michelle:
Good tip. So I'm going to ask you one more question cause this is the most important part. There's so many things that we can or maybe quote should do for our business and our marketing all the time. And at the end of the day, it always really comes down to like, what's the payoff? Like what's the return on your investment, your, your ma, your monetary investment. If you're like buying equipment or whatever your time investment, your energy investment. So what have been the biggest wins for your business because of these virtual workshops over the past couple of weeks.

Kristen:
So obviously getting clients other these workshops is really great, but you know, when you're doing a corporate workshop, you're not always selling yourself in that way. So aside from that, if it happens, great, but if what it really does for me is establishes me as an expert. So the workshop that I've been doing, so the self care and self quarantine, it's really holistic. So aside from nutrition, I'm also talking about calming, pandemic related anxiety, how you can help your community what to do if you get sick how to shop for potential longterm quarantine and so on. And it's been really well received. And the feedback I've gotten from HR and from employees is really positive cause it's a lot of useful information that they need right now. And it's not just like fluff, like drink water, get some sleep, even though that's obviously important, but I go a lot further than the high level stuff that you normally see.

Kristen:
So that gives me a lot of credibility for the people who are watching. And another one would be that even if the company doesn't have the budget right now and can't do the workshop with me, when things go back to normal, I've already opened the door to a potential relationship. So they've heard of me, they know that I offer something valuable and by then I will have more testimonials from companies that I have been working with to add to the credibility. And then plus now the employees know who I am. For the ones that I've worked with, they spent an hour with me. They see my personality. A lot of them will follow me on Instagram afterwards. Cause then the very last slide, I'll put all my contact information. So maybe if they don't have the resources, now you know, a lot of people are tightening the purse strings because there's a lot of uncertainty about job stability. But you know, they'll keep up with me on social media until they feel ready again. So this is all just one big business building project. You're building some money in your bank account, hopefully relationships with companies and credibility with employees who are potential private clients. And then also your social media and email following depending on how you leverage those relationships.

Michelle:
All things. So again, if you guys want to learn how to put together your own virtual workshop, you can join us for free next week to sign up at healthcoachpower.com/createvirtual and we will be excited to walk you through the process. I've put together so many different workshops, presentations, programs, you name it. Kristen is like the bomb at this. You saw like she was able to pull this together so quickly and now we're going to kind of share that, those techniques with you. So be sure to sign up and hopefully we will see you there. Kristen, thank you so much for joining us today and sharing about your experience. Very relevant and timely experience as we're all sort of navigating this. This crazy time. I really appreciate you. Thank you. Hope everyone found it helpful. 100% and Hey, since you just mentioned your Instagram, shout it out so everybody can follow you there too. It's at good. Which kitchen? Good. Which kitchen. All right, everybody. Thank you so much for joining us. I'll be back next week helping you guys out the very best I can during a coronavirus and every other time. Take care everyone.

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