Let’s look at the structure of your curriculum vs subscription based offers.
First, let’s define the difference between those two types of offers:
Curriculum based: Has hard start and stop date
Subscription: has the ability to go on forever
Even if your offer/service has an initial agreement length, if the client has the ability to renew and continue with the service, it’s subscription based.
Even if you are charging per hour/per session (may want to rethink that, btw), if the client can just go on forever and ever, it’s subscription based.
Most personal training and nutrition coaching services are subscription based- not all- but most.
When you’re structuring what is included in your offer, you’ll want to first sit down and figure out how long of an offer it is.
Let’s use The Barbell Collective as an example:
TBC is a subscription. Clients begin with a 6-month minimum agreement
length and then move into a cancel-at-anytime agreement. TBC is ~4 years old.
Had I structured TBC to include a ton of recurring appointments (scheduled or non-scheduled) I would have burnt out by now.
Imagine creating a subscription based offer and telling your clients:
“There will be 1 weekly group call and 1 weekly Facebook live.”
I know that sounds benign on paper, but it probably won’t feel benign in action.
If your subscription based offer goes on for 4 years,
that’s 208 group calls and 208 Facebook lives.
From the coach perspective (yours),
here’s what may transpire:
→ burn out
→ feeling panic or guilt if/when you need/want to take a week off from those deliverables for any reason
→ panic when deciding how to reestablish the deliverables to your clients if/when you decide it’s too much
→ a hard time figuring out what the F to talk about each week
→ frustration/resentment when you realize attendance and attrition grows over time
From the client perspective, here’s what may transpire:
→ lack of urgency to attend calls or lives (no reason to be, they can just hop back in next week, right?)
→ client overwhelm. If they can’t keep up or catch up, are they really getting what they paid for?
→ desensitization/straight up tuning you out. Clients grow accustomed to your frequency and eventually tune you out because nothing seems important after years of weekly calls and lives. Client essentially learns: “nothing bad happens when I don’t pay attention, so this must not be helpful/important.”
If you have structured your business through a lens of “more is best”, you will notice client attrition, think you need to add even MORE for your clients to “care”, which will lead to MORE client overwhelm, MORE work/time on your part, and even MORE frustration/resentment because it’s “still not working.”
This frustration will lead to more burn out because your effort will not be congruent with your expected outcomes. So you will feel like you are trying SO hard, and that your clients STILL don’t care as much as you do.
So, now we’ve got two problems.
Problem 1) how you structured your subscription based offer
Problem 2) thinking more deliverables for your clients = better.
A curriculum based offer gives you the opportunity to crank up the intensity/frequency of what your clients “get” from you.
It’s like being in school. There’s a curriculum you follow for the semester, then you go on summer or winter break, right? Right.
Imagine being stuck in school for years with zero breaks in what your teacher is giving you.
You’d be like “JEEEZ, TAKE IT EASY LADY!” Right? Right!
If your clients know there is an end in sight, not only is your effort paced out, but so is theirs.
Of course, you may not have or even desire a curriculum based offer.
So, what now?
If your offer is subscription based, you’ll likely want to set up your active deliverables into seasons.
Active deliverables = things you deliver to clients on a live & recurring basis.
Passive deliverables = things you deliver to your clients passively– can be on a recurring basis, but are pre-done, batch created, and you do not have to be present at the time of delivery.
Let’s use TBC as an example again:
Passive deliverables: TrueCoach programming. This is the cornerstone of the entire offer.
Active deliverables: Form checks, responding to coaching questions in the FB group, FB lives & live calls.
→ Passive deliverables are delivered 1x every 12 weeks.
Let’s say it takes me 20 hours to complete 12 weeks of programming– (compiling videos, recording, uploading, writing descriptions, creating the actual outline, progressions, regressions, etc.) That’s ~20 hours of work every 12 weeks. To be honest, it probably only takes me about 8 hours to put together 12 weeks of programming, barring no tech issues- which DO happen! Knowing how long it takes me to complete helps me set up my work schedule 😉
→ Active deliverables:
I log into TrueCoach for form checks 2-3x per week- BY DESIGN. This leaves me plenty of room to under-promise and over-deliver, it also gives me plenty of wiggle room to….not- without ever letting my clients down. Form checks take me anywhere between 1-3 hours each time. So, anywhere between 1-9 hours per week. Knowing this also helps me set up my work schedule 😉
I log into the TBC Facebook group 1x per day M-F, and I’m in there for 1-2 hours responding each time.
So, your subscription based offer is taking you recurring time each week in some capacity. This is important to remind yourself of.
I seasonally schedule Facebook lives. This way, I don’t burn out AND my clients don’t get burnt out and think: “Oh GOD, ANOTHER Facebook live from Christina. Woop-dee-doo.”
“Seasonally” doesn’t mean Summer, Fall, Winter, Spring. It means it’s dosed out with weeks or months of breaks from the active deliverables based on a number of things, some of which are:
-My own circumstances/energy/personal season
-What is going on/popping up for the group
– Time of year. I NEVER accept new clients in January for fitness- NEVER have, NEVER will. However, I make sure to host a training before the New Year and several times into January to help my clients understand diet culture BS marketing at that time of year, have them self-assess their own BS claims of “new year, new me”, facilitate a year in review for them, talk about the lie that is motivation, etc.
If I have been nattering on ALL YEAR about this stuff, come January, they’re all tuned out because they’ve grown desensitized to my deliverables.
Let’s look at curriculum based offers.
I used to host a 13-week live course called Diet Culture Drop Out.
There was hard start/hard stop date.
For 13 weeks, it was GAME ON.
There were weekly discussion calls and weekly journal prompts that clients could send their reflections to me via email.
I was prepared for 13 weeks of intensity, and so were my clients.
Let’s look at UnFYB– also curriculum based.
Historically, UnFYB includes:
~6 months long, two monthly group calls, & 1 monthly small group call.
Can you imagine having to facilitate something of that frequency/intensity for years on end?!
A curriculum based offer affords you and your clients a different type of intensity when compared to a subscription based offer.
The “dosage” of your subscription based programs needs to have burn out and energy ebbs/flows in mind. It also needs to have burn out and energy ebbs/flows from the client perspective in mind!
This is one of the biggest reasons why in-person trainers burn out so quickly and so often. Because there is no end in sight.
On the one hand, it’s great! You’ve got those clients that you’ve had for years, you’re comfortable with them, they’re comfortable with you– but every once in a while you’re like:
“….so we just do this… forever? I have to see this person 2x per week for …forever??”
Yep. Yes you do.
Multiply that by dozens of in-person clients, and suddenly you realize your schedule and energy are gridlocked.
One way to circumvent this is to leverage technology.
Where can you incorporate more passive deliverables to your clients that act as a way to replace yourself? We talked about this inside the “look for ways to replace yourself” email.
A great reminder here is to not let your clients think that they cannot succeed without you– sound familiar? 😉
What can you assign to your client(s) via a platform like TrueCoach that empowers them to explore movement on their own without you having to be there? I mean, you want your clients to move without you always needing to be there, right?
Another way to circumvent this is to structure your subscription based offer into seasons or blocks of training.
Instead of your service being this never-ending renewal with no end in sight, can you incorporate implementation weeks/exploration weeks/or even deload weeks that allow you to take a beat, and let your clients also refocus/rest/rediscover?
We did this at IPSC.
Every 8-12 weeks, we took a deload week.
Quite literally this meant I was away from my gym for a week every 8-10 weeks. It allowed me to take a breather, gave me something to look forward to, and also gave my clients a break from ME. Not to mention the psychological and physiological benefits of taking deload weeks from an exercise science perspective.
Remember, and I say this with love:
How impactful are you when you’re burnt out, exhausted, and growing in resentment towards your business?
I know, it feels like a threat to everything women are raised to be:
-second to everyone else’s needs
Honestly? Fuck that.
I know, I KNOW! You feel like you owe every single one of your paying clients the shirt off your back because they’ve trusted you enough to pay you- so WHO ARE YOU to get burnt out? Doesn’t this just “come with territory” ??
There’s a decent chance at least some of your clients are women.
So, you’re chirping on and on and ON about how important it is for them to take time for themselves, to participate in self-care, to LOVE themselves enough to invest in themselves…
…yet, their fearless leader (you) is leading by example.
Are you not?
You never say no.
You never take breaks unless your body FORCES you to.
You take less than what you deserve.
You never ask for what you want.
In some ways, do you not owe it to your clients to not be a hypocrite?
Do you not owe it to your clients to lead by example to protect your time, your energy, and uphold boundaries?
Could you… oh, idk, impact your clients even deeper by showing them what this looks like in real time?
Instead of saying:
“take time for yourself, you’re important!”
and then…. not taking time for yourself at all?
Instead of saying:
“your desires and your life are important!”
and then…denying yourself your own desires?
Just some food for thought 😉
All of this to say, you can restructure your business to work FOR YOU for the long haul, as well as for your clients.
They deserve it.
YOU deserve it.
I know you deserve it…