How I Built + Executed an Online Workshop in 10 Days
Ah, the beloved workshop. Whether online or in real life, these experiences are a staple in the solopreneur / freelance / creative communities, because they are where we do much of our professional learning.
I’ve had the opportunity to speak at a few workshops in the past, but until a few weeks ago, I had not yet gone through the process of hosting a workshop on my own. While there were a few challenging moments and tears shed, the experience was one I’m super proud of myself for going through—and one that MADE ME MONEY!
In this post, I’m going to share all of the steps I went through to get this thing off the ground, ways I’d change things in the future, and even how much I made. Let’s get to it!
A Little Background
Prior to moving Get a Grip on the ‘Gram online, I planned to the workshop IRL. I reserved a cool spot here in downtown LA and started marketing it.
Two weeks out, I had sold two tickets. I kept hearing a nagging voice telling me to pull the plug. Then, I committed myself to Amy Porterfield’s Digital Course Academy. I opened up the backend to see a bonus course awaited me: How to Plan and Execute an Online Workshop in 30 Days or Less. It was the sign—and entire manual—that I needed.
While I followed *most* of Amy’s recommendations, I went off script in a few places. Thankfully, I had a few of her recommended beginning steps already completed, because I had done them in prep for the IRL version.
One thing I chose to do was to charge a little less than she recommended (she recommended $50-$100, I charged $49), because I wanted more people to get it. I didn’t want price to hold anyone back—but I still needed to make sure I took something home for all the time and effort (which was ~25-30 hours total).
Another thing I did was market it in 10 days. Amy recommended two weeks, but since my audience had already begun hearing about Get a Grip on the Gram, I cut my window of time down to 10 days.
The Post-It Session
After I went through Amy’s 30 training video and decided on some important logistics, I did the next important thing: a post-it party. This is one of Amy Porterfield’s tried and true content creation tactics—and the best part is that it’s super simple.
All you have to do is get a stack of Post-it’s, position yourself in front of a wall, and set a timer for 20 minutes. Then, you write down EVERY idea, course topic, action item, etc. that comes to mind. Then, take 10 minutes to organize them.
Once I was done with this step, I had a rich outline for both my workshop and all of my promotional content too. WOO-HOO! Here’s what I came up with:
Now, it was time to setup all the logistics.
The Setup and Promotional Plan
This was *definitely* the most labor intensive part—and when I nearly lost my marbles. I’m a relatively tech-savvy person, but anytime I’m working within a new system it takes me a bit to get it. On top of my workshop promotion and planning, I was also getting ready to launch my website—so some of these systems were mostly related to that, but it all fell around the same time.
Before I announced to the world that I was moving my workshop online, I did the following:
Wrote and built a sales page in LeadPages (which I had done 1-2 times before) ~2 hours for copy + design
Filmed a promo video with my iPhone + Ring Light (then Clare, my right-hand woman, edited it for me) ~1 hours
Setup Acuity Scheduling as payment + scheduling software, wrote a confirmation email to be triggered after purchase. ~1 hour
Wrote an email to blast to my list announcing the change ~ .5 hours
Designed social graphics + wrote copy for announcement ~.5 hours
The total back-end setup time before I went “live” with my announcement was a little more than five hours.
Next, I built out my internal social and email promo plan. Amy recommends sending two promo emails, but I knew more was needed for my business—especially since my website and new offerings launched September 30 and the workshop was October 6.
The emails I sent from announcement to workshop launch were as follows:
Sept 26: Announcement: Get a Grip On the Gram is moving online!
Sept 27: The 14+ topics I'm teaching you in Get a Grip on the 'Gram (ALL 14 were from my post-it session! And I included a pic / link of my promo video in this email)
Sept 30: Social with Shayna is live! (website launch)
Tue Oct 1: Social media for busy people: The 3-2-1 Process, explained (blog post)
Wed Oct 2: 3 [FREE] Tools You Need to Execute Successful IG Marketing (blog post)
Thurs Oct 3: Is Get a Grip on the 'Gram for you? Find out who I designed it for inside.
Fri Oct 4: Forget About Likes! How to Focus on Engaging Intentionally to Reach Your Target Audience (blog post)
Sat Oct 5: LAST CHANCE! The doors are closing for access to Get a Grip on the 'Gram
Out of those eight emails, four led with Get a Grip on the Gram and the rest contained banners for the workshop.
I based my Instagram content around my email topics, and committed to showing up every day in both the feed and stories from announcement (9/26) to launch (10/6).
I also posted in various Facebook groups that had members of my community and target audience, and spent $150 in paid social advertising to promote it (spoiler alert: none converted).
After sending the initial workshop announcement email, I sold one ticket. Another sold three days later (Sept 30).
Cue minor meltdown: in four days, I sold two tickets, and with six marketing days left in front of me, I was feeling like it was a VERY long shot to make it to my goal of 10 workshop attendees. I wondered if people actually wanted this thing.
Turns out, they did!
Once the clock struck October, sales were MUCH better. I sold the following tickets each day:
Tues Oct 1: 2 tickets
Wed Oct 2: 3 tickets
Thur Oct 3: 1 ticket
Fri Oct 4: 0 tickets
Sat Oct 5: 6 TICKETS!!!
Oct 6 (day of workshop!): 1 ticket
In total, I sold 15 tickets to my workshop—most of which used a promo code for $5 off—for a gross revenue of $856!! And YES, you read that right. SIX of those 15 (more than a third of attendees for you math liking folk) purchased their seats the day before the workshop.
The Workshop Itself
The Post-It Session was the perfect outline for my script and presentation deck, but TBH, I didn’t get started on either until about 3 days before the workshop.
In hindsight, that wasn’t the best idea because I was definitely still working on it the morning of. It worked out well for me that I was doing this online, because I was drying my hair 10 minutes before going live. OOPS.
I built my 22 page deck in Canva, and I must say, it came out beautifully. I was really excited to present that sucker!
Prior to going live, I setup my private Facebook group, where the video would be going live. I also did Amy’s recommended “tech test run” with the third party platform she recommended for streaming workshops, Be.Live. All systems seemed good to go.
The Be.Live platform turned out to be more of a challenge than it initially seemed. First, there was a pretty big lag time between when people commented and when I saw, which made some tech issues challenging. I also couldn’t see their names from the dashboard I was in—I could only see “Facebook User,” so I had no idea who each of them were. The video quality was also not the best (pixelation, etc).
Most problematically, when I put the slide deck in full screen, my microphone would cut out. I had initially planned on sending the slide deck out AFTER the workshop, but since I was forced to do the presentation on split screen the whole time, I had to send it to everyone right in the moment so they could see the detail on the slide. Not the biggest deal, but a little stressful in the moment.
The workshop itself lasted almost two hours, and then I did a Q&A for another 30 minutes. FYI—this is a very long time to teach something! I have a whole new level of respect for teachers. I went to bed at 8pm that night.
The overall response to the workshop from attendees has been excellent. While it was a ton of work (~40 hours total including the followup), I LOVED THE PROCESS!
And the great thing is, it’s all done now and can repeat it again and again! I’m currently trying to figure out if this is something I want to do the same way (live, on a date) or if I want to offer it more evergreen and lower touch. TBD.
If you’re considering doing an online workshop for whatever you’re passionate about, I highly recommend you go for it! You might end up learning even more than your students. ;)