No matter how high I raised the price, the way I was running the program wasn’t working.
— Claire Pelletreau

Episode Summary

What’s up, everyone! Today I’m speaking with Claire Pelletreau, Facebook ads strategist and course creator. Claire is a returning guest on the show and she’s here to share what’s happened in her business since we last spoke and her new program, Ad Consultant Incubator.

Seeing big opportunities in the world of Facebook ads, Claire transitioned from being a life coach to an ad strategist and eventually a course creator. Pricing her Ad Consultant Incubator has been a challenge, but with some tweaks, she was able to use the program to scale her business.

Join us in this episode to hear what Claire’s learned about effective pricing, how courses can help grow your business, and practical tips about Facebook ads. Enjoy!

+ Episode Transcript

Claire Pelletreau: When people would come to me with a question, I would say, oh, just do this as if they knew how to do that and exactly what that meant. That's where I noticed like, oh, okay. Unless I want to explain things every single time on every coaching call, like you know, teaching something a to z, then it needs to go in the module.

Janelle Allen: Welcome to level up your course where we pull back the curtain on what it takes to create learning that transforms lives. You will hear stories from business owners like you who share their success and their struggles. This is not where you come to hear passive income myths, friend. This is where you learn the truth about building a profitable learning platform. I am your host, Janelle Allen, and this is today's episode.

JA: What's up everyone? Today I am speaking with Claire Pelletreau, Facebook ads strategist, course creator, lots of things we're going to get into. Claire is the creator of the ad consultant incubator program for, as you can imagine, people who want to become Facebook ad consultants. We are going to dig into her program and really learn more about her journey because she is a return guest from a few years ago. So Claire, welcome to the show.

CP: Thank you so much. It's really great to be back to now.

JA: I'm excited to chat with you. I think I mentioned via email, I was listening to your podcast, the get paid podcast and you said some things about the program and some changes that you've made. So I really want to get into that, but before we do that, we do have a standing tradition on the show. Oh, the rapid five five quick questions to help listeners get to know you. Are you ready?

CP: Oh, I'm ready. This is exciting.

JA: All right, so the questions have changed since the last time you were here, but they're, they're still pretty fun and easy. First one, what did you have for breakfast?

CP: I had two eggs over easy and a little bit of an avocado. It didn't turn out to be the best avocado.

JA: Don’t you hate when that happens? Like you slice it open and it's like brown or stringy or just weird

CP: Yeah, stringy. I'm like, how does that happen, avocado? I really need to look into it.

JA: Yeah. Get your life together. Avocado. All right. Number two. What is the last album you listened to?

CP: Album? Well, this morning it was baby shark, but I would say the album that I'm listening to most consistently in recent times is a Beyonce’s Homecoming album.

JA: Hm, okay. Okay, cool. You know, it's funny, I probably shouldn't state this publicly, but I haven't listened to the whole album yet. Yeah. I don't know why I just admitted that in public.

CP: I have about half of the songs on like kind of my Go-to, get stuff done playlist. It's really good when you listen to it in order because then things flow. Yeah. Yeah. It's good to know. I've heard good stuff about it.

JA: Okay. Number three is a serious question and so I just wanna you know, bring it, we're going to get serious. So the Zombie apocalypse has hit and you have six minutes to grab three essential items. What do you pick?

CP: Wow. Okay. Let me just start this by saying that we have my husband and I have a meeting point in case of a Zombie apocalypse or any apocalypse actually. Do you, do you like know where your loved ones are going to meet up?

JA: Yup.

CP: Okay. That's very good. The three things, gosh, I mean I hope that I would grab a bottle of water, my phone and probably thinking like my portable charger for the phone. What are you going to take?

JA: Well I have a backpack specifically designated. So you know for all the listeners, cause a lot of people listening, they love this question. This is not just a crazy question. I really have a backpack with a bunch of stuff in there for survival stuff like the Zombie apocalypse. So that's the first thing.

CP: Well that's great cause that's like a nine.

JA: And then I would probably grab a weapon. This is the first time someone has asked me, I would grab a weapon. You know, whether it's a knife, a bat, something.

CP: You got to, we've seen the walking dead. So do you know though that it's a Zombie apocalypse is my question. I think you do okay in this scenario.

JA: You know, I think so. I don't think it's going to be sudden, well, I don't know. Maybe it will be, but --

CP: You don't think it's going to be sudden?

JA: : I mean, I think that you're going to know something is happening.

CP: Did you read World War Z?

JA: No.

CP: Oh, Janelle! No, no, no, no, no, no. After this podcast episode gotta read that. You gotta read it. It's so good.

JA: Maybe it'll inform my preparation for the Zombie apocalypse.

CP: Okay. I think it really will. It's funny.

JA: So before we continue, I was just talking, I live in a condo building and I'm on the top floor. My neighbor and I, we happened to open the door and to take a break to at the same time. And so we got to chatting and somehow we ended up on the Zombie apocalypse. So this is a common thread in my life, people. And we made a plan that we're going to sequester off the third floor and just have a, you know, we're going to come together and survive together. But my question was, that's great. Until the food runs out and then we're…

CP: Yeah, and also, well, you're going to read in the book, there's at least one chapter that does talk about like high rise living. I'm not sure that's where I would go.

JA: It's not, I've got a backup plan.

CP: Oh good. Good.

JA: Yeah. Okay. All right. Let's move on. That was fun and now I feel like I have homework to do. Thank you Claire. Number four: If you weren't doing the work that you're doing now, what would you be doing?

CP: So I have this like desire two, start a movement around listening. I find that a big communication problem that we have is the fact that people don't listen to anything. For example, you post something on Facebook, a question and people don't actually care about your question. They don't care about the information that you're asking for. They're going to tell you what they know and what they want to say. And I have had many, many, many experiences like this. Right now I'm going through some health issues and everyone has their two effing cents about that. And really what, I just wanted somebody to listen and be like, yo, that sucks. So yeah, I don't know. I'm not sure how that would make any money.

JA: It'd be like a listening coach. Yeah.

CP: Yeah. That's how I would change the world. I think if I were going to change the world, I think that's powerful. And making people better listeners and like that, you know, involves empathy and things like that.

JA: I feel like we're having a mini interview. This is not the rapid five anymore. No, but this is good. You're making me think. I think that's powerful because not listening is an epidemic.

I think, and my mind is going in a couple directions. One back when I was an employee, I worked with someone who, she said something that it really changed my perspective on reading, receiving information. She called it read listening. So sometimes we just scan and we just, yeah, okay. I think, you know, I did it the other day. You emailed me about rescheduling the interview that when you interviewed me and I just scanned and responded and I missed the key word tomorrow. Right. And so I wasn't read listening so I try to remind myself to, even when I'm reading, am I listening or am I just scanning so that I can act. And it's funny you also mentioned health issues cause I was just having a conversation with my dad last night, one of our typical three hour midnight conversations and we got to talking about healthcare and how it's so hard nowadays and you know we were talking more so about doctors but just finding people to listen to you when you are going through something health wise and particularly with doctors who a lot of times the experience is just, they're just not listening to you talk about your own body. But I love what you said as well, which is the third direction that my mind is going in of just feeling like you just want people to shut up and listen. That's something that I've struggled with my entire life and it wasn't until, you know, I got it in a longterm relationship that I realized I just need to be quiet sometimes.

CP: It is so hard, you know? Even in that longterm relationship, she just stopped thinking what you're thinking while they're talking. Yeah. And actually just be there.

JA: It is. One of the things, and now this is the last thing I'll say because I think it's helped me a ton and I think it will help other people is, someone wants told me and I've used it and it works. When someone comes to you and they're sharing a problem, cause I'm as I have a person, I'm a, I have a fixer mindset. I'm always thinking about, oh, how could we fix this? So now I say, do you want me to listen or do you want me to offer insight or advice? It's just changed everything because then I know what mode, you know, and I can shut up and just listen. Or if you know the person I'm speaking with wants my input, I can give it. But that way it's clear for me and I think it's helpful for them.

CP: Yeah. That's a really powerful question.

JA: Yeah. All right. Number five, what is the hardest lesson you have learned as an entrepreneur so far?

CP: No, these questions. Do you think they're rapid fire?

JA: Well, this, this one isn't rapid. This one is intentionally not rapid. But the other ones, yeah, they were supposed to be fast but that's okay. We're just going with it.

CP: Okay. I would say that the hardest lesson, like it wasn't, you know, a big blow up or something and I lost a lot of money or like ruined connections or anything over it. But the hardest and the fact that it has taken me so long to learn and to keep learning, it's around pricing and value and the amount of calls and my group program, my price should not be reflecting the amount of calls or the number of modules or how much like hands on support or things like that. I mean, I think to a certain degree you must correlate prices with like access to the course creator or to the expert. But I'm still like kind of working on these things like, oh well I'm planning on raising the price of this other course. So I have like a DIY Facebook guide course as well. And well that price has just like really changed over the years and I'm looking at increasing the price again and I was saying to somebody, you know it's cause I update it all the time and like there are monthly calls and I'm somebody who was like, you know, it's not about that, isn't it about the skills that you're imparting to people and the ability that they have to to the course creator or to the expert. But I'm still like kind of working on these things like, oh well I'm planning on raising the price of this other course. So I have like a DIY Facebook guide course as well. And well that price has just like really changed over the years and I'm looking at increasing the price again and I was saying to somebody, you know it's cause I update it all the time and like there are monthly calls and I'm somebody who was like, you know, it's not about that, isn't it about the skills that you're imparting to people and the ability that they have to -- that's been really an ongoing struggle. Let's call, let's call it that. That's been an ongoing struggle for me.

JA: I love that because I think it's so relatable. It's something that at least once in your life as an entrepreneur you are going to struggle with pricing and what you were referring to is what people refer to as value based pricing. I geek out on pricing, so let me just put that out there. I love -- I sometimes I have to dial it back a little bit because I can, I can just go on. I think I've just read for hours on pricing psychology and different strategies. So now we're just going to segue into the main interview. What is it that is challenging for you when it comes to pricing other than finding a number for the value?

CP: Well, let me tell you about some of the evolution of the ad consultant incubator program. When I started it, I didn't know what to put in it, right? I didn't know exactly what kind of course would be, but I learned from Tara Gentile who is now Tara McMullan about the living room strategy of kind of going out and inviting people personally into the program. And what I said to them was, you will get all of me, you will get everything I know you will get like unlimited access to me. And that's how I can justify like going into this with like a, not even a fixed curriculum, like you're going to tell me kind of what you need to learn and I'm going to give you what you need. It was 12 weeks, the price on that was $1,200 for that experience. And that was a great experience.

I got exactly what I needed in terms of figuring out exactly what people needed help with and structuring the program in a way that was way more digestible than like the one that I did initially in that Beta. It was great, but what didn't change for a long time was you will get all of me. Like I had this belief that in order to charge premium prices, which of course the definition of premium prices, really varies --

JA: Yeah, it's relative.

CP: Oh, it's so relative. For me at the time, 1200 1500, 2000, $3,000 for a program like this, I had to just spend all day in the Facebook group, um, have an answer to every single person's question. If that meant me like going out and finding it elsewhere or even if those questions were answered in the material, in the modules, still giving them that answer in the Facebook group or something like that.

And that made it so that I didn't enjoy the program while running it. I would have, it was always the 80 20 principle. 20% of students would take up 80% of my time and I would what I call “babysit” people's investments. So if somebody wasn't getting it, if they weren't kind of really understanding the Facebook ad side because this program has two sides, right? It's the how's, who actually run Facebook and Instagram ads and how to build a business around that. Let's say they weren't getting something about the technical side. I would be making these extra videos staying up late because maybe they were on the other side of the world, bringing in other coaches who were on their side of the world to help them adding additional Q and A calls in their time zone. Like it was a little insane. And those people, I mean it's debatable whether or not they were quote unquote taking advantage of my offering that or if they were just using the access to me that I was giving them, but running the program felt so hard and I wasn't really able to focus on the people who were doing amazing things without needing my first born.

You know, they were like taking what I was teaching and running and I was like, oh cool. A year later finding out that they have surpassed me in revenue because they learned everything and just thrived. I barely had to interact with them. That mindset of somebody being successful without me holding their hand, it seemed impossible. So I knew like this is a program that brings in a lot of revenue for me. Yeah. It's my biggest revenue source of my business, probably about 60-65%. So if I want to grow that, which makes the most sense for me to do revenue wise, just kind of sustainability wise, I realized I cannot keep doing that. Yeah. If I was doing that when I had 12 to 15 people in a group, the idea of making it 30 people or 50 or whatever, it was just like I want it to die to be ridiculously dramatic.

JA: Die Right now. Just die.

CP: Yeah. Every single time the course wrapped, I was like, there's no way I'm putting this on evergreen. Forget it. But I had a conversation with Brooke Castillo from the Coach School. I interviewed her on my podcast and she has this model where it's, you know, people sign up for a month, they don't even sign up for like a six or 12 month engagement on it and there are modules and then there's weekly coaching. There are actually multiple weekly coaching calls because she has a ton of coaches and Brooke is in there coaching people as well, like on the calls. But it just, it was this big shift for me. Like Brooke is not worried about every single person who comes in and about babysitting their investment and making sure they get it back. She has given them everything they need because yeah, she has focused on making her content, her modules, the teaching, like the Mercedes Benz of content.

Brooke is not worried about every single person who comes in and about babysitting their investment and making sure they get it back. She has given them everything they need because yeah, she has focused on making her content, her modules, the teaching, like the Mercedes Benz of content.

JA: Wow. Okay. Let's pause because I want to get into the structure, but I also want to make sure that we do talk about how all of this that you're saying effect it. Just to make it clear for listeners how that influenced the pricing challenges. And I think what I'm hearing is the pricing didn't feel reflective of the amount of work and access that you were providing and it was burning you out and so you made some changes with the pricing to try to have some parody there and then realized had this awakening that, was it really about the pricing or was it really about your perception of everything that you've thought you had to give that seemed like the transition.

CP: Yeah. Let me give you some real context. So like I guess it was summer, fall 2018 was the last time I ran the program in its sort of old me just all in all the time. Inception, right. That time and for the time prior it had been $5,000 for 12 weeks.

Basically the advice I had gotten over the years was just raise the price, keep raising it. And even at that point somebody said, nope, this is a seven or $8,000 program. I've talked to another coach who says, oh, no, that's a $10,000 program. And yeah, I guess it could be. But what I was seeing was that after three months, after those 12 weeks, people still needed support. Because they had like learned how to get all these clients and how to run these ads. And then it was like, okay, bye. Good luck.

So almost everyone say like, can this keep going? Can we do some kind of continuing coaching with you? And then I would say, yeah, sure. Here's the price, which would be like kind of a similar price as a what they paid for the first 12 weeks. They're like, oh, I can't, I'm still paying for the first 12 weeks right? So I ran into that over and over and over again. So on the one hand I wanted to keep supporting people. On the other hand I wanted to be compensated for that. But the biggest thing over all, like no matter how high I raise the price too, the way I was running the program wasn't working. It being all me. And I can totally see how sure I could make this a 10 k program, hire some coaches and have it be like super chill, a bigger money maker than it is now.

But -- and to be perfectly honest, this is still something I'm kind of grappling with. I have been listening to a lot of people who really talk about how pricing creates tremendous exclusivity. Like it is cool when you can put together a program for 10 people or 20 people and you dramatically changed their lives and you make a lot of money from that. Like that is cool. But there are also great benefits to making it more accessible for more people and impacting more lives and still making a lot of money out of that. I really go back and forth on it to be honest, because I might've dropped the price too much. But I'm also very connected to the people who come into this program, like the kind of money that they're making and you know, people say, Brooke would probably say, this other coach I talked to said, you're just not demonstrating the value enough if you're not selling it at 5k or 10k maybe.

But sometimes you just don't feel like putting people's finances in like really dire straits in order to help them get that quote unquote transformation. Right? So I dropped the program down to $400 a month for six months, basically making it about $2,400 for six months instead of three, which it was prior. But at that point, at that six month mark, they're done paying for it. So then there is a much higher chance that they're going to continue, like basically re-up, top up their membership and continue to pay me. So the possibility for a lifetime value is actually higher with this model. And when I stopped charging people $5,000 for this, I felt like I can a step back.

People will totally say Claire has mindset issues and that's probably true. Okay. There's just something about this pricing and this offer that feels really good to me at the current price point.

JA: There's so much to talk about. So I love talking to you. There's so much to dig into. I want to talk about the mindset comment first because I think that connects to what you said earlier about the exclusivity of pricing, particularly when it comes to online courses and this conversation around charging premium prices. Now, I am all about charging what you're worth using value based pricing. But there is part of the conversation that we, especially as for many of us, we are in the US or it were in a Western civilization and we are pricing accordingly and we don't discuss the exclusivity, not just for people who may be in different locations, but people who are in our locations who might have economic challenges.

So in a sense we ask the question, are we only helping people who are privileged enough to afford us? And then that gets into conversations around, okay, how can we have a more flexible pricing model? So people do things like payment plans or they in your case, adjust their price model. It also can be spoken to in your overall business model. So what I've seen many people do is, you know, let's say your group program is $3,000 or $5,000 well, you can have a self-paced course that is less than that. So if someone is in a budget constraint, hopefully the self paced course will be at a price point that's better for them. That's worked for me. If that doesn't work, there's free content. That's why it's so important to create content that people can digest for free and still get some support if they need it so that you're able to serve in all of those ways.

I think it's so important to be aware and have that conversation. I don't think that this is a mindset issue, Claire. I think that I know since we've known each other online for what, three years now, you're well-traveled, you've seen a lot and I have as well. And when you see people from all over the world, it changes your perception of service in a different way. So Kudos to you for thinking about those things.

CP: : Yeah, I would say – so, I'm like well traveled, I lived in Argentina for a long time. I have traveled a lot around Europe but being in Argentina for that long, I would say completely failed to understand anything about white privilege. And so I moved back to the u s a few years ago and of course then Trump got elected and then I just started learning like, okay, you can talk about white privilege or you could just talk about privilege in general. And it is really true. Like some people just aren't bothered by whether or not they’re only serving privileged people. I have read conversations in Facebook groups by some like, you know, multimillion dollar business owners where it's like, well, you know, if they were really committed to it or like charging higher prices is going to give them a bigger commitment and things like that. And I used to buy into that and then I just started to listen to other voices and you know, I would say the probably now my program is not actually priced at the value. Because like if I'm basically giving somebody the ability to create a business that brings in, let's just say even four or $5,000 a month, right.

If you multiply that over even just three years, then the 2,400 that I'm charging right now for six months is ludicrously low. So that's where I might, you know, things might change, but I just like this, you know, knowing that at the end of the six months people are going to be much more likely to continue working with me. And I also know that I can turn this thing into evergreen and not have people be like, oh, but this was supposed to be like a small protected group. No, I was very clear in the marketing, that you know this is going to be a bigger program.

JA: Yeah, and I think that connects to a couple of things. One business value, so you know what you said about this feels right for you right now. People forget that there's this bigger context of what are the core values for your business? And if you are someone where you want two serve more people and you want to be sensitive to, you know, some of the things that we were talking about, then that needs to be woven up in how you structure your Business, which is going to trickle to how your pricing is structured.

If you're not, like you said, you know people who just aren't, then it doesn't have to be a thing when it comes to pricing. It can be tricky because we think about all of these things and there are so many different things to think about, right? You have to think about the overall products and services in your business and how your, what I call your product ladder or service ladder, if you're doing services, how that's structured. You have to think about the value. You know, one of the things that I have been slowly doing more of is is email marketing and launch strategy for course creators and I love it not only because I get to write, but also because there's a clear ROI. I know what the value will be and so I can price accordingly. When it comes to pricing, there's also an aspect of filtering and so that's something that I want to touch on because I think that we've talked about a lot of things and that is a real thing.

It is a very real thing that your price point will filter in many cases so that you can attract the people that you want to attract. There's absolutely nothing wrong with saying, this is who I want to serve. I think, that's just how I feel.

CP: You know? I used to believe that very, very strongly, but then I kept seeing people who were the wrong fit. Come into my program, even though I was doing sales calls and you know, like qualifying the applicants because if you have a program that has helped people, that has really changed people's lives, then people will find the money. And this is actually what, you know, a lot of those coaches say what the coaches who recommend, you know, just high price, everything is people will find the money to do it. [inaudible] but it doesn't necessarily make them a great fit.

JA: I don't think pricing is the only way to filter them. That’s the other part.

CP: Yeah, no, definitely not.

JA: How were they the wrong fit?

CP: I remember saying to somebody, I don't think you're the right fit on a sales call. And she convinced me that she was, and she wasn't. Because she had not actually had experience really getting clients for anything. I had sort of seen like she was, um, doing certifications and things like that, but I'm not sure what the problem was, what was keeping her from really getting clients. But it basically was like, she saw this program, she thought, Oh, this could be the answer. There have been a few people like that and then they're really, they don't have the brain for Facebook ads. I mean it's a very left brain thing. It also takes just a lot of balls. You have to pitch your -- I teach people to pitch themselves and it works if you do it, but that takes balls and not everyone has that.

JA: Yeah, I've experienced that with my group program and what I realized, and I think this is where, you know, my background as an instructional designer and working on academic courses, now I have a prerequisite for my group program. Not only do I have a prerequisite, but I also, I believe that we'll always be in a structure where it's a cohort based structure. I don't know, it may be evergreen, but for me it is so important to make sure that everyone who comes into the program has an email list and a website as a prerequisite. And I know it sounds very simple, but I've had people who, and I learned the hard way by letting in someone who did not have those things and realized very quickly that because of the curriculum they weren't going to be successful because the curriculum asked you to engage with your email list.

It asks you to do certain things, so I just had to take a stance and say, you know what -- because you're right, money isn't always going to keep out people who aren't the right fit. I think that for me at least, and I believe for a lot of programs, at some point you have to be very clear about what people need in order to be successful and take that hard line stance and say, okay, this isn't a great fit for you. You should try this. Which is why I created my course Audience Decoded to help people two start to engage their list and pre-validated their course idea and all of that because that is the best. That also I have a course that helps people to start their email list because if you haven't done those things, that's where you should go. And that's helped tremendously. Taking that hard line. And I battled with it for a while. I thought of ways, well maybe I can do this, maybe. And I realized that, no, it just like a college course. This is the prerequisite.

CP: You know, I have, um, a couple of competitors, you know, for this specific program who really sells the, you don't need to have any kind of prior experience in order to be successful at this thing. And I used to say that that was immoral, but you know what, like, so you and I both have these prerequisites, we want our people to be successful. You know, we place a high value on that. But that's also, Janelle, probably, well, I can't speak for you. I can speak for me that one of the things that I sort of uncovered last year is that I need external validation to feel good and that's a bad thing.

The external validation, it's usually my clients being successful or the ads that I'm getting, I'm running for actual client, you know, implementation clients for them to be successful and them to be making a lot of money. The competitors I now think of mine, I don't think they're bad people. They are just not so attached to the outcome of their students. And I don't think that's a bad thing. I just know that it doesn't really work for me, you know, because I don't have any refunds. You know, I don't have people, to my knowledge, you know, talking trash about my program. Some people who are like, oh I don't think they really got out a lot out of it, they actually joined up for round two so I just, I want to be clear that like there's not one way to do it. I'm like, you need to make sure everyone's a perfect fit and then everyone gets there, gets what they need. A mindset coach really helped me learn that sometimes what somebody needs is to invest in a five k program to learn that they are not good at this kind of work. Like that's a lesson. It's an expensive one, but that's still like getting something out of the course. But you know, both ways are good.

JA: I think, you know, for me it comes back to what I said earlier about your values. You know who you are. Look, I started in courses because I got tons of questions from people, you know, who somehow found out I was an instructional designer. But also the part that I don't think we talked about when I was on your show is I got so many questions from people who said, I spent $2,000 on So-and-so's program and I still don't have a course, or I don't know what to put in my course. I don't know how to structure it. Can you help me? And that hold on my heartstrings and made me start Zen Courses.

It comes down to values. I know there are people, you know in my market, in my niche who don't care because I get the emails when there are customers still don't have a course and they come to me. My values are different. I don't want you to invest it. I had a great conversation with one of my best students and, you know, it was so funny because she initially, when she signed up for my email list, she reached out and she's like, I want to be in the group program, and I said, no, the, do you have an email lists? She said, no. I said no, and she told me when I interviewed her, she said, that made me take a step back. I didn't know what to think of you. I just thought, why don't you just take my money? What's wrong? And you know, we, we had a conversation and then she said, then I got it.

Then I understood you were saying in order to be successful, this is important. And to her credit, I said, no. Start your email list. Here's a course that I have very inexpensive course. It's like 50 60 bucks, take this course, all of the steps, start your email list. And she did it. Most people don't. I get emails like that all the time and most people don't take the actions, she did it. And that made me take a step back and say, oh, okay. And then she was successful in the group program. She joined the group program, she worked the process. So that told me I needed that experience to help me feel like the decision that I made was correct. That that prerequisite is important and essential or a success. And so again, I think it comes down, we're kind of, we're going round and round, but at the end of the day, your business is your business. You know, you have to define the values of your business and everything that you create, the products that you create, the pricing that you use, how you engage in and communicate with your customers is all going to connect to those values. And so you get to decide what that is and what's important to you.

Claire and I are not telling you what to do. We're just sharing. Okay. So earlier you started to talk about the changes that she made when it came to pricing, but I'm curious about the changes to the structure of the program from like what did you learn after teaching this program for years and what are some changes that you made to the content and structure?

CP: The thing that I learned after pretty much every round, is there still more that I can, I add to the content and not in a, there's always more you can add, but like there were gaps, Facebook ads are really complex. When people would come to me with a question, I would say, oh, just do this as if they knew how to do that and exactly what that meant. That's where I noticed like, oh, okay. Unless I want to explain things every single time on every coaching call, like, you know, teaching something a to z, then it needs to go in a module.

So the last round was like the hard round where I was like, wow, people are still really struggling, those few people, and what can I do to make it better? That was the first time I actually just kept a doc and it was called Incubator Iterations and it was at least 40 bullet points of things that needed to be explained or I needed to do differently in the enrollment process too. You know, like okay, it looks like these beginners are too beginner. Oh. One of the things I completely removed was the test project elements. So I used to, and this is what everyone told me was the best thing about the program and I killed it, was I would hook my clients up with paying test clients. So I would email my list. Most of my list is just people who want to learn how to run Facebook ads for themselves or they don't want to learn, but they think they should.

Yeah. And I would say, Hey, I'm training these people. You can pay like a very reduced price to get them to run your ads for you. And I would have all these requirements and invariably I would take people who didn't match those requirements. And so then the projects were never cut and dry and so it just really required a lot of hand holding. But my students were working on ads immediately, which was cool. But the newbies... But that made it so that no one had to go out and get their own clients.

JA: Yeah, I was thinking that sounds like a great idea. In fact, I think I remember reading that a couple of years ago and you killed it. Okay. So, so you were handicapping them?

CP: I was handicapping them spending way too much time helping them troubleshoot, you know, these clients who were not really a good fit for ads anyway.

I mean occasionally you would have or no, maybe not occasionally about 50% of the time the client ads would be phenomenal, but I couldn't distribute who would get two clients whose ads would be yeah. And then two that were just a nightmare. Like there was just no way to foresee that. So I removed that and I've thought about having that be like an upsell that could almost be the more premium thing like you want, while you have access to me, you also want to be practicing on real campaigns. Okay. Instead of you getting paid for it, you're going to pay me for it cause I have to go out and find those people. My reputation essentially goes on the line. And I have totally had relationships that have been like eh, because I had trainee's running their ads and didn't necessarily, I mean I'm always able to say they did exactly what I would have done because I tell them what to do.

JA: And also you knew they were trainees.

CP: Yeah. Right. But I also was telling people, you know, they have access to me like 48 hours a day, you know, crazy. So yeah, I removed that and now I have this one student in the new round. She's, she's like barely able to make the call. She has full time job. But one of the very first module is basically how to make your investment back in three months. And she just got all those clients because she followed the instructions. Now she's running the ads for them and because it's a six month and not a three month program, she actually has access to me while she's doing it. So I, I dunno why it didn't kill it sooner. You know why, I thought that's how I could sell the program. I was able to tell people, don't worry about it.

You're going to get to practice with me and that was attracting the wrong fit people.

JA: I love that. You see like that brings us back to what we were talking about. It's not always the price. It can be structure. It can be, you know, establishing prerequisites. I love everything you just said about just the process. This is why I say all the time, anyone who has been a longterm listener, you don't just create a course and forget about it. In my opinion, it's an iterative process. There should be times where you're thinking and reflecting and identifying learning gaps and saying, okay, these are common questions that I'm getting. That probably means I need to address this. You know, either adding something, taking something away, which in your case it was removing something for the betterment of the students. The reason I love that is because it's the adage. So instead of giving them the fish, you're now teaching them to fish and I think that makes your program more powerful. If I come out and I now feel confident in getting clients, on top of everything I've learned of executing Facebook ads, now I come out with a business. That's powerful. I love that.

CP: I should be charging 30,000 right? Just kidding.

JA: Okay, so you took out the test. Is there anything else that you, that you changed?

CP:The only real change Janell is that I'm in the Facebook group and I see questions and I don't always answer them. Like if they don't need me. And a lot of times people will like chime in. I just, I've really smart people in there right now. Hopefully they’ll stay forever. And then there's always like down the thread. It's like, okay, we'd love to know what Claire thinks though. You know? And usually I'm just like exactly what so and so said, I've just stopped feeling bad about that. It's a tremendously different energetic feeling for me.

JA: Yeah, and that is a shift and it is a mindset and an energy thing. You've staffed being the mother hen and you kind of just taking a step back. I've started doing that in my free Facebook group a little bit and it's intentional. You have to have intentional energy around it because you have to let the community become a community.

And it's a fine line. It says it's a balancing act really, because when you first start for anyone who's just starting a community, you have to be in there talking because, I don't know, people are shy or you know, and sometimes when you first start any type of community, whether it's connected to your chorus or free rope, they're looking to you to set the tone. And so you have to be in there talking, posting prompts, answering questions. But eventually I think it's a beautiful thing when your students start to engage with each other or members in your community start to engage with each other and the community becomes just that. It's richer. You have that social learning, those informal interactions. That's the magic for me at least.

CP: Yeah. Yeah. I mean, and that's what I've really seen this round. And it happened from day one when I just wasn't all up on every single question.

JA: Yeah. I had a client, he had a different approach, which I thought was very smart in that when he had star graduates, he would promote them to be mentors. And so they would, you know, take the step of answering questions and just, you see that sometimes in Facebook groups where people have their moderators or you know, they have some different level of, uh, recognition in the community. And I thought that was a really smart way to go about it. So there's different approaches to this thing.

CP: Totally.

JA: Yeah. So now it's monthly, $400 a month, at least right now it may change, for six months. And then you mentioned that afterwards there's the plan -- have you already launched a, it's kind of a graduated coaching because I loved what you said. I've experienced that. When I ran my group program, I noticed this last time that when people graduated, it's like now what? Where they have questions and I felt bad. I didn't consider that when I launched the group program, I didn't think, oh they're going to graduate. I just said, okay, they're going to graduate, they're going to go off and do their thing and then I'll find some new people. But it's like, no, they still need support. So what is that for you? What does it look like for your audience?

CP: This is the beauty of basically having an evergreen program right now, I'm not enrolling it cause I'm just doing other things. But that's my plan for Q4 is to focus on that. Yeah. I just said to my alumns, hey, you can get in on this for 300 a month instead of 400 you get the same access as the newbies. Like there's no hierarchy on the calls or anything new people get, no. So like now one of the things that's so great about it is I have more experienced people and less experienced or they're experienced in other areas of business, but not so much in Facebook ads and they're all working together. So let's say when Melissa comes to the end of her six months, she can literally just get another six months. Maybe I'll do another three months to be like flexible for the alums.

I'm not really sure. But they could basically just stay in the program. Some people will most certainly churn, but then by that point I will also have had new people. I'm, I'm hoping to start getting new people in and around their fourth or fifth month when I start enrolling more people. So there will be overlap, new People, old people and that will also help foster the community instead of constantly starting over with a new group.

JA: Yeah. I'm thinking about it as well. Having a coaching option, an evergreen coaching option. It's something that I don't know if it will launch this year, it's probably a 2020 thing, but because I've experienced a similar thing, I just talked about graduates of my group program, but also people in my audience who they have courses and they don't necessarily need help launching a course or consulting, but they want to have access to me to just ask questions and and get some insight on a regular basis.

And you know, for my clients I have retainer options but I don't have a coaching programs, so I think it's smart. I think it serves [inaudible] purposes and something to consider. It also provides recurring revenue, which it's always a plus.

CP: One thing that I struggled with when I was kind of trying to come up with the upsell from prior incubator rounds was like, oh, this is going to mean an additional call per week. And you know as a podcast or, and somebody who has clients and courses that you know, it can ended up being a lot of calls. That's why I just like this ongoing evergreen thing. It's one call. Eventually it'll become more calls per week as the group grows and we need more people and I will not be doing all those calls, that was also something that I decided when I, it was sort of just rethinking about the price and structure.

I'm no longer going to be the only person helping and right now I don't have the numbers that necessitate an additional call. So I didn't have to the coach I was planning on hiring, but eventually I most certainly will.

JA: Yeah. I think this comes down to asking, you know, just to kind of bring it to a close, what do you want from your business? For me, that's a question that I feel like I'm always thinking about and re-evaluating every quarter when I do my planning -- is your business, is the structure or your products or services aligned with what you want? And what I love about everything you've shared is I can tell that you've made some strategic changes to adjust and have alignment so that you not only feel good, but your business is healthy and growing and also serving your audience, serving your learners in a very rich and rewarding way. So thank you so much for sharing all of this, Claire. Is there anything else, any final insights on teaching that you want to share with the listeners?

CP: I think just like this shift of I don't have to have all the answers that used to make me feel like, oh no, maybe this program isn't worth the money. Maybe I'm not that good. Maybe you know, nobody should ever pay me anything ever again. That's just been a really big shift. Just for some reason I had this pressure to feel like I needed to know everything. Like giving myself permission to not know everything has really helped me enjoy teaching more.

JA: Yeah. All right. We're down to the final three questions. The first one is easy. What is next for you then? What's exciting coming up?

CP: Okay, so I'm about to launch a new website, like my first quote unquote real website with actual professional photography and copywriting and things like that. That'll probably go live in August of 2019 and then yeah, I need to start enrolling people on Evergreen in the ad consultant incubator. And also I am working on hiring sort of my first more than just five or 10 hours a week type of person. I'm really nervous about that, but I also feel like I need to do it if I really, I have a lot of things that I want to do and very few of them that I'm actually getting done because of client work because of the demands that come up. So it's time to start getting some support in those areas.

JA: Yeah, definitely. All right. Where can people find out about you and your work? You mentioned your website. What's the URL?

CP: Yeah, it's Claire Pells, C l a I r e p e double l But you could C: Yeah, it's Claire Pells, C l a I r e p e double l But you could also just come over to my podcast. That's a great place to just kind of learn more about what I do and my thoughts on business. I ask people how much money they make and how they do it and what has been, you know, like successful strategies for them. It's called the get paid podcast. That's really where I would love for people to come, listen, join the conversations on Instagram, those kinds of things.

JA: Yeah, it's a great show. There's not a lot of podcasts that I listened to. I'm a podcast host that doesn't listen to a lot of podcasts, but I really enjoy your show, so I definitely recommend people check it out, especially for just the real person insight, you know, poeple are sharing real numbers and what worked and what didn't. Okay. Last questiion. What's you why? Why do you get up and do this work?

CP: Hmm. Okay. One is money. I really like money. I did not have much of it for most of my adult life and now I'm learning that I can make more and more. So that's really fun for me. The other why is because I really like talking about this really complex thing, which is Facebook ads in ways that make other people understand it a lot better. It's just something that I've always enjoyed doing. I used to teach English in Argentina and I was that teacher that loved to talk about grammar because there were these complex concepts that I could break down into really digestible bits of info. So yeah, I just geek out on that stuff and it's a, it's a really great way to work from home and get to basically work on whatever I want.

JA:I love it. So we're going to spend a few minutes in the bonus round and talk about Facebook ads and for anyone listening you can check that out. Claire, thank you so much. This has been fun. I really enjoy talking with you and I hope that this acuitus journey that we took in this interview is beneficial for our listeners. I hope you enjoy it. Thank you.

CP: Hey, it was my pleasure. Thanks for having me.


JA: Hey there. I hope that you enjoyed that conversation with Claire and I say conversation because I love speaking with Claire. It was such a calm, comfortable yet enlightening conversation and I hope that you got that out of it as well. If you are looking for more information on Claire, you can find links to her website and her everything that she's doing over at for episode 103 once again, that link is All right. As you know, if you have been listening for a while, we do a bonus segment here on the show and no different with Claire. Claire and I got deep into Facebook ads. That is her area of expertise. That is what she specializes in. So we really got into some practical tips and I will be honest, I suck at Facebook ads and Claire told some things that no one has ever said before.

So if you're interested in Facebook ads, check out the bonus segment and find out what Claire has to say about how to not just get started, but some things to do to have better performing ads. You can grab that by heading over to if you're in front of a computer, but if you're on your phone, it's really easy. Just text the word extraextra, all one word, extra extra to the number four, four two, two, two and you'll get a link to listen to that bonus segment and you'll also be added to my email list if you're not already on it, so you can get updates about the show and other cool things about online courses. All right, that is my time. As always, thank you for hanging out with me for another episode. I am Janell Allen and this has been level up your course. Peace.

JA: Before you can level up your course, you must first level up your mind. As always, thank you for hanging out with me for another great episode. I do not take it for granted. I am Janelle Allen and this has been level up your course Peace.

Episode Highlights

00:55 Getting to know Claire Pelletreau, Rapid Five Questions

13:14 Pricing challenges, lessons learned and pricing changes made

21:42 The exclusivity of pricing, benefits of setting a more accessible/flexible pricing model

29:51 The filtering aspect of pricing: Does pricing really attracts your ideal client?

35:49 Why you need to define your core values to attract the right clients

38:41 Lessons learned and changes made to the course content and structure

46:48 Claire's support system for the course graduates 

51:24 Claire's tips for online course creators  

52:02 Awesome things coming up from Claire

53:00 Find out more about Claire (website link), End Notes

Connect with Claire

Enjoy this episode?

Join us in the bonus segment! It’s a great conversation about how to run Facebook Ads that actually convert.

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