Summer is upon us – often a time out of time spent in another pace & dream state. I reallyyy hope you get to just rest, read and reflect lots *and* I love talking about tools for authentic motivation (as opposed to fear driven frantic doing).
This episode is full of ideas for creating supportive structure in your business, which I hope will help you feel motivated and in touch with the bigger picture and the reason you started your business in the first place. We’ve all been through a lot this past year and in many cases our businesses and ideas for the future have changed dramatically. I believe that in amongst all this turmoil it’s more important than ever to have a beautiful container for your work, one that sets you up for success in your own unique way.
Here is more info on Create & Launch with early bird pricing till June 18th: https://yarrowdigital.com/create-launch/
and here is the invite to the free summer retreat: https://yarrowdigital.com/summer-retreat/
Listen to the DIY Small Business Podcast
on Apple Podcast // Stitcher // Spotify // Soundcloud
⋒ Hi, my name is Yarrow and I am your host.
My Embodied Business podcast explores what it means to build a small business with integrity, joy and anti capitalist values. I interview other small business owners and offer solo episodes in which I am answering questions around tech, strategy, more ethical marketing and creative livelihoods.
You can learn more about my web design, tech support, mentoring and community offerings at YarrowDigital.com
Sign up for my newsletter below if you'd like to hear from me about once a month! ⋒
Hey, everyone, my name is Yarrow and you’re listening to the embody business podcast, really happy to have you. And I’m gonna try at least to make this really short and sweet recording. So I’m just coming out of teaching and evergreen class in the embody business community, or rather a class about making evergreen classes and courses. And one question that came up, I think was really important, which is, what kind of topics actually working as evergreen self study options. So we talked about the fact that many people struggle to complete a self study course in their own time, be that about because of overwhelm, or it might not being there possibly not being the right format, all kinds of reasons, right. And I think that’s really common, I know that I’ve taken classes that I haven’t completed, and that I might have completed if it had been, like a firm container, a life class with group accountability. So I’m really want to say that I’m only speaking for my own experience here. And I think there’s no way of knowing exactly what’s going to work for someone, I think something really valuable that you can do if you’re interested in this question. As you just ask your community, we that on Instagram, or on your newsletter, or in people that you just know, about how they would enjoy learning something from you and what they would like to learn and different kinds of formats. So, on my last podcast episode, I talked a little bit about the process of creating an evergreen and why I think that can be a really good thing for your business. So to recap, really quickly, I think the key takeaways were that it’s a great way to share something across time and space. In some cases, it can be a more accessible way for people to learn something. And it can be a smaller commitment. So if you have people that can afford with working with you one on one, for example, this might be a really nice way to make some of your work more accessible to more people. Of course, there’s more to accessibility than just pricing, which is a bigger conversation. But generally, this is one aspect of it. And of course, also it can make you some extra income, and maybe create a little bit more financial stability in your business, and therefore allow you to rest more and take more creative risks. I also think that Korea’s production can be easier than we sometimes make it, I know that I have really made it unnecessarily hard for myself in the past, for example, by forcing myself to create screen facing videos where I try to look nice and brush my hair and get good lighting. And then look at the camera and read something off the screen, I actually found that really difficult. And I now mostly record my classes by sharing slides, which is actually helpful for people to look at, or by sharing my screens. When I’m teaching something more technical, like WordPress, or branding them, I’m just showing people directly what I’m doing, which is actually much better than looking at my face in that case. Okay, so this is a quick recap, and also to say again, that in July, starting July 5, I am offering a live four week programme called create and launch, where we’ll have four modules that are pre recorded, and that really show you step by step how to you can create your first class or course. And then we’ll have Monday, live classes. q&a is where you can ask questions, meet other people share your process, and really make sure that you get this done. So by the end of December, you have a nice evergreen product that you can offer people as we head into the back to school vibe. I will link to that in the show notes. It’s $180, early bird pricing towards June 18. Okay, so now about what kind of topics can work for evergreen courses. And again, we just speaking from my own experience, I think something that I’m really curious about is the diversity and learning that we see. And also the fact that the internet is really still so young. So while there are some interesting studies out there around what does and doesn’t work for people who are learning online, there’s also just so much that we haven’t tried or that is really new to us in some ways. So I want to kind of just bring that to our attention and allow us to have like a playful, curious, open approach to this because, yeah, it’s pretty new. And I love pedagogy and the idea of really thinking about how we can share knowledge and power in beautiful ways.
I think the core question is, what can I teach that is independently achievable to people, right? And that’s actually like a really good and really simple question to ask. It doesn’t have to be super complicated. Just look at what you know and what you do in your work. Ask yourself why you’re excited about it. Maybe also ask yourself what you would like to share with your younger self. So I know, there’s so many things I wish I had known sooner in my business. And I’m really excited to share them with other people now, for example, how to create an evergreen class, or how to make a website or how to make a brand, or how to question shows social media. So I think that is a really beautiful starting point, what do you wish you had known sooner? Or what would you like to share with your younger self? And, yeah, so the next thing I think that’s helpful to think about is, where is this offering falling on the spectrum of kind of the magic of group accountability to get stuff done, versus it being kind of on their own time, and then complete privacy? This privacy piece is something I found interesting. And I saw it first mentioned by someone called Katherine Mae, who wrote the book wintering, and it’s offering writing classes. So she has an evergreen course. And then description, she says, you can take this course, with full privacy. And I was like, Oh, yeah, you know, like, that actually, is interesting. Makes sense. Because there are certain things I think, that I would like to learn about, and I’m curious about, but I don’t necessarily want to share them immediately. So I used to write poetry in my 20s, for example, and I kind of just stopped 10 years ago. Now, I feel kind of awkward, but also excited. And so I would like to take a poetry class this summer, but I’m not actually ready to share any of my poetry writing, or I don’t necessarily want to be in like a live class with other people who write or read out. And then, you know, share notes and stuff, I think I’m just feeling a bit too shy to do that at this point. And that’s just one of many examples, right? But there’s different, there’s definitely also other things where I know, I need to be in some kind of container to actually make the thing happen. So really think about your own experience. Because likely in your business, or in your community around your business, you have attracted people that are having things in common with you, you know, so, you know, what do you enjoy? And in what you study? Do you? Have you made really good experiences with evergreen courses? And why did those work for you? And if your experiences weren’t that good? Why was bad? Did it feel disappointing? to kind of be on your own with the material? Or did you have questions that maybe you needed support around? Or did you just need more structure and accountability? So having a think about the kinds of obstacles that can come up with people. And I think the main kind of categories that I would group them in as are the following. So the first one is uncertainty about how to work with the material. So I’ve definitely experienced that where I sign up for something where I was mostly on my own with the material, or there was some kind of guidance, but I was just kind of overwhelmed as to what, where to start. And I think I wouldn’t have needed kind of like a nice welcome section, or a welcome email that literally lays out for me step by step, what I should do first and what follows. And why this makes sense, right. So this is something that’s avoidable, I think. But it’s easier said than done in a way. And the second thing I think can come up is resistance to change and transformation or creative work. This could be brought actually, but transformational creative work is kind of my experience of that. Not working where I have signed up for self study courses that were pushing an edge for me, that I couldn’t kind of get beat past by myself, basically. So I, I have this story, which I know many people have, and which is very silly in a way. They can’t draw, but I feel really strongly about it. I know it’s not true. I know. We’re all artists, I really believe that I say that to other people from my heart. But it also, you know, have this part of myself that’s like, I can’t draw and love story. And so I signed up for a really small self study course.
I think it was like a five part class, where it’s meant to learn how to draw birds. And I received a welcome I was just like one email. So it wasn’t really like taken through the experience, for example, by getting a an email a week that would have nudged me. So I just got one email that kind of dumped all the content on me. And I watched the first video I tried to draw a bird. Like kind of got frustrated. And I mean, this was such an easy thing, right? It wasn’t asking a tonne of me. I was just about to watch for more videos and do more writing at Drawing exercises. But I think I feel so silly saying this out loud now, because obviously I signed up for the class, I made this decision to learn how to draw birds, but it didn’t follow through. I got overwhelmed and distracted with those stuff. And I think I was just feeling resistant, in this part of myself that really wants to be an artist, but just feels very frustrated about the fact that my drawings initially don’t really look like actual boards. And so, and so I kind of just dropped the class, right. And also I didn’t get I didn’t get follow up emails, that would have been nice. There wasn’t like a way to ask questions or have a q&a session or something. So yeah, so that’s just like one that was my dog. Sorry. That’s like just an example of how sometimes I think when we’re inviting people into bigger transformations, oh, my God, sorry. We’re inviting people into bigger transformations. Sometimes we just need to also offer support. And there’s a tonne of really transformational stuff, I think that can be taught in evergreen sales to the courses. But it really depends on the person, right. And I think also to a very big range of people learning how to draw birds on the on their own, would have been amazing, you know, they just don’t have the same kind of stuff around, not being able to draw that I have. Okay, so another thing that can come up, I think, is a lack of time and attention span. And that just, that just depends on the person. I think as as facilitators, there’s not a time that we can do about that. And also, I think we need to leave people with the self responsibility of making the time if they want to learn something. And that totally applies to myself, of course, you know, like, there’s something kind of silly and signing up for something and they’re not doing the thing. And if if you do that repeatedly, then maybe that’s inviting you to ask yourself some questions about what you want to prioritise in your life and whether you maybe are overwhelming yourself with too much content. Yeah, so. And then the last piece, I’ll say that it can kind of can can come up as an obstacle, I think, is just having unanswered questions. And I think that can be a problem when we’re teaching something for the first time. And we haven’t really got a feeling yet for the kinds of questions that people might have. I think that I hope in my classes that all the main questions are covered. And what I’m going to do moving forward for my evergreen self study stuff is to offer a really simple form. I’m going to use Google form which is free, and it’s just had, I have three questions. The first is your name and email. What is your question? And then the third question is, do you have any other feedback? And so I’m going to collect these questions, and I’m going to answer them on a podcast or on a blog, depending on which format works best for the question at hand. And I think that’s a great way I think is a win win win, actually, because it allows me to offer evergreen courses that still have this element of support if people really do have questions. The second benefit is I think that people will have a think about whether their question has or has not been answered yet. That is my hope, at least, you know, I think that people will really read through the material or listen or watch it before they go ahead and use this form. And the third benefit is I think that my answers will be available for free for anyone, right, they will be on a blog post, or in the podcast. And it might be a question that other people that don’t take my current class have as well. So that’s useful for everyone. And it’s also not tying me to a specific schedule of teaching live all the time. So I feel like that is a really good balance between an evergreen and a glide coupe experience. With the creator launch classes coming up in July, I feel that
it will be really beautiful for me to facilitate this live and to see what people are working on. And I also think that because there can be a lot of resistance around creating your first class or course, and some technical stuff that come out, it will be really nice to be able to offer this accountability. But I also totally think that afterwards, this course might be available as an evergreen for people who are actually really happy to do it on your own and don’t necessarily need the group support. So I want to talk a little bit more about what hasn’t hasn’t worked for me and my own experience of taking evergreen classes. So what hasn’t worked for me is longer containers that asked me to change my behaviour or develop a new habit. So I have done Julia Cameron’s book the artists way a couple of times for example, and I really enjoy some aspects of it. I changed the language in some cases for myself, because I find that more relatable. And I really love the idea of of writing every morning. And when I do, I really see that it makes a big difference in my life. And in a way, you know, is a book. But it’s also kind of a self study course, it’s meant to be like a 12 week programme that you take yourself through. And I know that people who do really take themselves through it have amazing results. In another way, I also know that writing three, four pages every morning by hand, right consistently going on Adas day, every week is a big lifestyle change in a way. And I do these things very frequently right now in my life and have for a long time. So I definitely have like, weekly evenings where I go on an artist day, if you want to call it that with myself, and I’m undistracted and I just drop into something really pleasurable or creative that I like to do. And I also journal all the time. So over time, I have kind of achieved what I set out to do, I guess, by buying this book. But it took me several attempts. And I think it might have been nice to join a group to change to exchange notes on this. Because I think, yeah, like I said, you know, compared to my mid 20s, where I had a much more hectic and slightly chaotic lifestyle, this is a massive change in my habits to be journaling almost every day and to have these rituals for myself. So I needed lots of different things over long periods of time to come together to now be in a place where I have, you know, I’ve made that room in my life for these things.
So yeah, so these kind of things that are longer containers. 12 weeks feels like a long time to be in a self study experience. And I say this now. And then I also think about the fact that I’ve done my first degree from home, studying over distance, which was a three year experience, which is obviously much bigger. So it really depends, I guess. But yeah, for me, personally transformative staff, meeting creative edges, we’re doing work around shame or sexuality has historically been things that I wanted to do in groups so that I could have that support. And that also the fact of being witnessed, it’s been important for me, things that have really worked well for me, as evergreens have been smaller containers. So things that I’ve done maybe between two and four weeks, where I wanted to learn something smaller and tangible. So example I’ve taken herbal herbalism classes where I learned about making an herbal infused oils, or making certain kinds of potions or learning about sleeping better and creating like sleep hygiene rituals. I also took smaller creative writing classes or journaling stuff, I took a lot of ritual classes that I really loved. And they all had like kind of a really specific aim and just as a smaller time span. So that worked really well for me. And then the area of business I also taking classes around newsletter building, finding confidence, creating courses, it’s a quiz. This is a bit more time now. But that’s also you know, classes, but I enjoyed studying by myself. And as a general guideline, what I’m taking away for the from this from this question, like what topics work for evergreen classes, in my own work is that I want to teach things as an evergreen if that have a measurable practical outcome, or if they can be contained and two or three modules. So either of those two things needs to apply for me. So measurable practical outcome for me, that would be something like helping someone to learn how to create credit and branding and Canva. Or I have this short questioning social media class, learning how to create a WordPress website that is complex, it might work better for people in a live container. But if someone is really determined, and they are on a budget, I trust that they can learn through this course to do by themselves. And the alternative would be two or three modules. And I think that’s what I imagine I will kind of have as a guideline over at what was previously dangerous was and is now called, which shows the nature. And so what I would like to teach there, for example, it’s a class on heartbreak. But awkward to say that and I have been procrastinating that for this very reason for ages. I feel like I’ve been heartbroken a lot in my 20s. And actually, I would really love to record a class like an audio class with a workbook with sweet rituals that you can do when you’re heartbroken and it’s not going to be a massive deal or something that’s going to take months. I imagine this is some like a smaller class that someone takes when when they’re currently heartbroken. I’d also love to teach more. Oh, I’m sorry. That was I would love to teach more around rituals where certain time of the year rituals or certain phases or situations or transitions in life. So those would all be kind of smaller pieces. And then where I actually really see the benefit of being in groups and being live is the creative space sessions that I’m teaching through my Patreon. So for about eight months, I think from from autumn last year to very recently, I was offering live creative space sessions every other week. And we would just meet on zoom, we would open with a meditation, I would draw a card, sometimes there would be journaling prompts, and then we would quietly kind of create together. And that countability I think worked really well for that group. People show out really frequently, and everyone was like, just committing to their own practice. And we didn’t always interact a great deal talked a lot about the work that we were making. But people were painting and writing and drawing or leaving or knitting. And it was just really nice to be together. So I think all this to say that I definitely see the value in both and that I think different things just work really well in different situations. So hope this has given you some ideas of what you might teach as an evergreen class in your course. If you have any questions let me know again, if you want to go deeper join the create and launch programme. I would love to have you thank you so much for listening